Category Archives: parenting

The “What’s for Breakfast?” Series, Number 1

A friend and I were exchanging notes the other day about how to change up breakfast for our families. We’d both banned cereal from the house; cost was a big factor, amplified by how quickly it disappeared. Not only was it for breakfast, but I’d hear the tell-tale sound of cereal hitting the bowl after school or (and?) at 9 p.m.

I thought of our conversaion when I tried a recipe for “Grab ‘n Go” frittatas. I adapted TheKitchn.com’s Megan Gordon’s recipe, which used kale and goat cheese. One of the great things about a frittata is that it’s an easy way to use up greens and lettuces as they start to wilt.  And you can change the cheese to anything that is likely to melt.  (I ran across Gordon’s recipe in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s Wednesday Food section, 2/19/14)

Grab ‘n Go Frittatas

8 or so ounces salad mix of baby lettuces, sliced carrots, and  cherry tomatoes

3 to 4 tablespoons butter

12 large eggs

salt and pepper to taste

1/3 cup shaved Parmesan cheese

1 cup medium-sized croutons

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Melt most of butter in non-stick skillet, saving the rest for greasing the muffin tins. Toss in the salad mix and sauté until wilted.  Set aside from heat.

In a medium to large bowl, beat the eggs and add salt and pepper.  Add sauté mixture and croutons.

Grease two six cup muffin tins with remaining butter. Divide egg mixture  evenly among the muffin tins.  Put the cheese on top of each frittata.

Bake until the center is firm, about 25-30 minutes.  Best served warm or room temperature, but can be refrigerated up to week and reheated in the microwave.

Enjoy! 

Today’s WI Recall and “Yesterday’s” Civil Rights Movement

Last week, my son and his classmate interviewed Howard Fuller about his involvement in the Durham civil rights struggle.  On the way to the interview, they ran through their questions with me.  I was struck by their focus on the violence in the struggle.  And I suppose that’s not surprising: their attraction to history is driven, at least in part, by an interest in battles, formal and informal.  Despite our best efforts, fourteen year old boys are fascinated by blood and guts, guns and swords.

I wonder if they can see beyond the violence to the struggle and see that it extends to today? Can they see that voter intimidation still exists?  That there doesn’t need to be dogs, fire hoses, and literacy tests to dampen the participation of targeted voters?

I know I see it.  And Fuller sees it.  Here are his Twitter updates while in line this a.m. to vote:

Howard Fuller@HowardLFuller

Standing in a looooong line to vote at in Milw. Thx to the struggles that came before. No one ask me to recite the preamble to the Const

Howard Fuller@HowardLFuller

huge price was paid to enable Blk people to vote. efforts to limit that right must be resisted.But the first thing we have to do is GO vote

Howard Fuller@HowardLFuller

Glad to be in a long line because it means people in my neighborhood ain’t sleeping. They are VOTING!!

Today is John’s last exam, but the teaching and learning won’t stop just because school is over.  I expect we’ll have on-going discussions over the summer about the recall and the campaigning for the upcoming November election.  There’s still time to help him see that the struggle continues.

 

 

 

 

Define “superior” parent please

Amy Chua at the 2007 Texas Book Festival, Aust...
Image via Wikipedia

Say what you want about Amy Chua (and people are saying plenty):  she knows how to market her book.  From a lengthy article in the Wall Street Journal to an interview on NPR, from Slate to my Facebook status, people are talking about “Chinese” and “Western” parenting.

Oh, she assures,

I’m using the term “Chinese mother” loosely. I know some Korean, Indian, Jamaican, Irish and Ghanaian parents who qualify too. Conversely, I know some mothers of Chinese heritage, almost always born in the West, who are not Chinese mothers, by choice or otherwise. I’m also using the term “Western parents” loosely. Western parents come in all varieties. (WSJ, “Why Chinese Mothers are Superior.”  January 8, 2011)

Like the editor at the WSJ would say, “Wow.  Look.  Here’s an essay about Jamiacan parenting.  We’ll call it “Jamaican Parents are Superior.”  Puh-lease.

About the time all of the media was making this Yale law professor their darling, Bruce Reyes-Chow, a Presbyterian pastor in San Francisco, was posting this:  “Teaching children to embrace the joy of mediocrity.”

It doesn’t look like he intended it as a response to Chua.  And since Chua brought up the “Chinese” distinction (not literally, of course, but actually, yes, literally), I should note that Reyes-Chow’s heritage and culture is only part Chinese.  He is also Filipino. (In his “snarky” bio, he describes himself as Filipino/Chinese American.  And a whole bunch of other things not related to his ethnic heritage.)

Distracted enough from the point yet?

The book is supposed to be about parenting styles and how this one (uncompromising and disciplined) is superior.

So is it superior?  As FB friend Carol C. said, “What’s your goal?”  An important question to answer if you’re going to read this book or participate in any discussion about your “parenting” relationship with your children.

I’ll withhold judgment until I get a look at the book and can get past the attention grabbing headlines and soundbites.  I suspect there’s some truth in it for our family, just as there’s truth and guidance in Reyes-Chow’s post about celebrating mediocrity.

Meanwhile, time to supervise violin practice.

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Think before you fill out that next youth sports registration form

We are just coming to the end of another season of youth sports in our home. Two of our kids tried new sports this season: track and field for the junior, who wanted to work on his strength and conditioning for football, and lacrosse for our 7th grader, who wanted to join the wave of young people trying this growing sport. Our 5th grader did a stint with a spring hockey team as well as joined the middle school track team (consider it additional speed and conditioning to complement the once/week practices for the spring hockey).

I’m guessing there’s some eye-rolling  from readers about “crazy youth sports parents.” And we might deserve it.

We’re not alone. Mark Hyman, a sports journalist and parent, was prompted to explore the youth sports complex based on his own crazy parenting. He discusses it in his new book, “Until It Hurts: America’s Obsession with Youth Sports and How It Harms Our Kids.”

Jane Brody’s column in today’s NYT covers the book.  While injuries are part of the problem, what caught my eye was this:  “with each passing season youth sports seem to stray further and further from its core mission of providing healthy, safe and character-building recreation for children.”

I hope you’ll join me, as we move from one sports season to the next, in using Hyman’s standard to determine whether or not it’s the right choice for your child.  Ask yourself:  Are my kids involved in healthy, safe, and character-building recreation?

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Uncle Jay wants you to say “please and thank you”

Today’s Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel has a nice human interest story about three families at USM who have a daughter AND a son playing in this weekend’s state hockey tournament.

Talk about family-based education.

However, my experience is you don’t have to be related to be treated like a member of the family.

I call it co-parenting–please, anyone who can come up with a less “social-science-y” name for it, I’m all ears–and it’s one of those features in a community that I’d argue makes for a great place for kids.

Here’s an example involving one of the dad’s in today’s Journal Sentinel story.

Jay Wigdale and I were talking between periods at a hockey game.  My middle guy had hockey practice after the varsity game and was panicking because his gear was in the car.  “Mom, c’mon!” he urged.  I sneered at him–the look that should say, “I’m talking to another adult here.  Give me a minute.”  But he was fixated on getting that bag, torn between waiting politely and being on time for the team meeting before practice.

After interruption number three or four, Jay said, “Hey, how about ‘Please Mom?'”  That broke the spell and a few minutes later, Son #2 and I were on our way.

Maybe it’s that Jay and I have stood at football, baseball, and hockey games together for the last couple of years watching our sons play.  Maybe it’s because Jay’s wife and I serve on the school’s Booster Club board together.  Maybe it’s because, by my count, Jay has 13 nieces and nephews living nearby, or that about half of those nieces and nephews have played hockey with my own kids.  But Jay felt perfectly comfortable scolding my son.  And I was completely thankful he did.

To the best of my knowledge, I am not related to anyone at University School, save my own children.  Still, there are plenty of days that we feel we are part of a family.

Thoughts on a coach

Milwaukee Winter Club Wildcat

For those of us whose kids play youth hockey, we’re used to the response when we talk about how much time we spend at ice rinks.  Basically, non-hockey parents think we’re crazy.  

But, at least for our family, the commitment to a youth sport comes with the promise of  coaches like Bob C.  

Parenting is a demanding job and you’re more likely to do it well if you don’t go it alone.  Youth sports has been one of the ways we connect to great adults who can help us raise our kids.

Milwaukee Winter Club, where our two hockey players compete, is full of  dads (and some moms) who have lots of experience playing hockey.  Bob was not one of those dads.  

But what made Bob a good coach–what makes any coach who signs on to coach children “good”–is the joy they take in teaching children the life lessons that competitive sports can teach.  Sportsmanship, teamwork, hard work, disappointment.  The nearly seven months that most families commit to youth hockey means that the “fun” is no sugary sweet cotton candy version.  When you win, you know you earned it.  And when you lose,  you know you gave it your best.  

And with coaches like Bob, kids learn that they are valued for who they are and what they bring to the team.   The joy Bob took in coaching his son and his son’s team mates was evident in his relationships with the kids.  He was no polly-anna where people were concerned.  While I never heard him say a negative thing about a child, he was always honest–and, it seemed, delighted by each kid’s quirks.  

That perspective served him well in coaching my “charming” daughter in the net.  I emailed him about a month before he died to say that he was one of the few coaches who could keep up with her “sense of humor.”  He responded:

Tell L. I’m very proud of her. Tell her to always keep her beautiful smile. And tell her (if you feel it is appropriate) I always tell [my kids] when they can’t get the answer they need from family or friends — get it from their gut. I consider the gut the combination of heart, mind and soul and that combo will keep us sane and happy with our choices in life.

If you allow YouTube — Dream Big – Ryan Shupe & the Rubberband — is a pretty fun song. Keep smiling.

We’ve been fortunate–a lot of our kids’ coaches have been like Bob.  That doesn’t mean we won’t miss him.

 

From the cutting floor: Links and songs that didn’t make the social networking presentation

Image representing Twitter as depicted in Crun...
Image via CrunchBase

Here are some of the resources (some serious, some not so serious) that won’t be in the parent education presentation on Thursday night at USM.

Facebook Song on YouTube

Facebook in Reality

Is Facebook Growing Up Too Fast?

When Everyone’s a Friend, Is Anything Private?

Are Granular privacy controls too complicated for users?

The Twitter Song

The Tweet Show

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