Tag: kids

Literal Chest Pains … Parenting a Pandemic Kid


Oh, the good old days when I compartmentalized everything, shielding myself from emotional pain, disassociating from the political beat-downs I was hired as a proxy to suffer, and feeling free to fill my time with all kind of distractions for professional advancement. Those days are long gone … and good riddance.

Now, I’m old and retired. I began suffering chest pains a few weeks back. And, as many of you already know, I am Mom to a troubled kid. She’s 21. She lives with us. She works in a grocery store that attracts cranky customers; the kind that like to find a small person behind the counter, one who looks weak and meek, one who probably won’t fight back if they chose them as that day’s punching bag. That’s what it seems like. These angry and disillusioned customers come through the automated doors targeting small-in-stature clerks that they can verbally beat down at will with impunity because they’re pissed off about their life and the world, and they can’t help but spew their frustration and ugliness at the first vulnerable grocery clerk they find.

My daughter is that small person, who is not only tiny, but also, because of her serious mental health challenges, struggles to groom herself. You know, she forgets things … like taking a shower, brushing her teeth, washing her face, wearing clean black jeans to work, and making small attempts to comb her hair.

A Few Small Thoughts


I’ve been busy. A customer is building a specialized milling machine, and I’m writing the software to create the tool paths — the motions the machine will have to make — required to manufacture sets of a few hundred slightly different precision parts that have to fit together fairly precisely. I’ve never done something quite like this, and it’s taken several iterations to get the math right and the paths precise down to the “tenths” (engineer talk for 0.0001″) required by the machine, and to do so without devouring the spinning cutting bits.

I’m very happy with the results so far. I’ll be at it the rest of this week and then, I hope, back to life as usual.

This week on “The Learning Curve,” Gerard Robinson and guest co-host Kerry McDonald talk with Naomi Schaefer Riley, a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and author of several books, including Be the Parent, Please. They discuss findings from her book on how excessive technology use negatively impacts children’s intellectual, social, and moral development – which was even more of a challenge with the wide usage of remote learning during COVID-19. The conversation turns to Riley’s extensive commentary on the relationship between religion and education in American society, and lessons K-12 education policymakers should learn from higher education’s handling of faith on campus. She delves into why religion and church-state issues remain such a stark fault line across American K-12 education. They also talk about the development of anti-intellectual efforts on college campuses, and in the larger society, to use speech codes, political correctness, wokeness, and now cancel culture to shut down the free exchange of ideas, and why such campaigns to undermine the fundamentals of democracy persist.

Stories of the Week: EducationWeek reports that over 1.3 million American students did not return to school this year due to the pandemic-related closures. School districts are scrambling to lure them back, but will it work? Juneteenth, which honors the 1865 ending of slavery in this country, has officially become a U.S. federal holiday.

Chad Benson is in for Jim today. Join Greg and Chad as they discuss corporate America’s spineless response to yet another political controversy. They also take a deeper dive into Joe Biden’s effort to boost labor unions by crushing freelance work. They fume as Dr. Fauci and others suddenly decide kids now have to be vaccinated before life returns to normal, and they remember the fascinating and controversial life of the one and only G. Gordon Liddy.

I Get It Now, Dad


June 2011– Now that I have my own kids, some of the stuff that made no sense to me when I was growing up has become clear. I fully grasp why certain behaviors evoked a response from my dad. He and I might have different approaches in dealing with similar kid situations: my dad would have been quick and efficient, no fanciness or equivocation. Nevertheless, it makes sense now.

For example, when I was a kid, I liked to read more than I liked to do almost anything else. Reading ranked a close second with playing outside. For sure it ranked high above “work” or “chores” or “listening to Dad explain something maybe related to chores.” Occasionally when I was engrossed in a story, my dad would emerge from his office and decide that something needed explaining. I would get up from where I had been lying on the couch, fix my eyes on him, and let the book dangle at my side, careful to have my finger at the right page.  Then suddenly, inexplicably, in the middle of what he was saying, my dad would grab the book, send it sailing across the room, and say, “You need to get your nose out of that book.” I’d be flabbergasted. Why, my nose wasn’t in the book. Hadn’t it, along with my eyes, been pointed at him?  Hadn’t I been nodding in all the right places?

Join Jim and Greg as they welcome growing evidence that coronavirus transmission rates are very low in the schools. Jim explains why the Trump campaign’s accusations of massive election fraud don’t seem to hold water. And they shake their heads as Barack Obama reveals why his Middle East peace efforts went nowhere.

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The vile, electrical current that is engulfing our beloved country, with its short-circuiting sparks of pandemics, riots, political turmoil and people-bashing on social media, as well as city streets, I find myself longing to pull the plug for some semblance of peace; the kind found in simple pursuits, minus electronic devices. The fishing theme makes […]

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Strange sighting in Northern Virginia


Today, as usual – I was walking our dog down the local road and was shocked to see two of our neighbor kids playing in their back yard; they are probably about seven and ten years old.  They are our closest neighbor in one direction – about 1/4 mile, but we have much closer neighbors who have children who have grown up in the 18 years they have been here.  It is extremely rare to see them in their yard (about 4 acres) and we have never seen them anywhere else.  There are several other houses within a half-mile and the situation is the same.

Now, let me explain.  We live in far north Northern Virginia.  Our lot has about an acre of woods, across the street is probably 10 acres of woods with a creek and a swamp and a pond.  About 1/4 mile to the west is “Short Hill Mountain” (emphasis on short, but it is steep) which is all wooded.

One and Only, or Shop Around?


There are two philosophies of dating and finding a partner.

There is the idea that some people can find their person at the get-go.  This means that dating further is without purpose and sticking with it, learning how to be in a relationship, and making a commitment is paramount.  There is the other idea that one never knows unless one has experience of the world.  Why settle down when you can sample the finer things in life?  Why settle down when you can check around and maybe find something better?  How do you know that you want what you’ve got unless you see what else is out there?  By see, of course I mean experience.

Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America applaud columnist Ruth Margolis for blasting liberals who demand that parents must immerse kids of all ages in politics and the social justice movement.  They also wince at the evidence Republicans may have lost congressional seats in states like California and New Jersey because they limited how much residents could use their state and local tax bill to reduce their federal tax payments.  And they react to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell urging Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey to appoint defeated Senate candidate Martha McSally to the state’s other Senate seat if Jon Kyl steps down before 2020.

On Raising Willful Children


I am a bit stubborn, when I want to be. Just a bit. Like the way water is a bit wet or the sun is a bit hot.

My wife is a bit stubborn too, when she decides to be. And now we have kids. Twin girls.

To Rid the World of Snowflakes We Must Stop Coddling Our Kids


Note: I’ve had this in the hopper for a few weeks, but after Bethany Mandel published My Top Parenting Pet Peeve, I figured why not hit publish?

Despite the social discord wrought by the Vietnam War, civil rights movement (an obvious good), and the loud-mouthed hippies who traveled the world seeking the ruin of standards of decency; the 1960s were a pretty good time to be a kid. In those days; which weren’t idyllic, but were halcyon compared to the present age of discontent, children had many venues in which to learn. There was a fair amount of competition among the schools; particularly parochial versus public, which motivated all teachers to perform well. The nuns of Holy Rosary School, where I came of age, taught both the three Rs, and truths of eternal importance: Our lives are not our own but belong to God. We were to know, love and serve Him this life by doing good and avoiding evil, and thereby live with Him forever in heaven. It’s been fifty years since my last catechism class, but that lesson is permanently fixed in my mind.

How’s Life, Ricochet?


Every so often, when the culture or political wars get so out of hand that even this political nerd wants to ignore it all and settle down with the cat, I throw out a “how’s life” post for Facebook. The idea is to catch up on the important stuff: kids, grandkids, parents, pets, shiny new jobs, an old job that’s driving you crazy, recipes, what-have-you.

The lovely blonde suggested a similar post for Ricochet. So, Rico-peeps, what’s new with your life outside of politics, policy, and culture wars? Have cute pet pictures? Pictures of the grandkids with watermelon all over their faces? Do you have good news to share, or need a shoulder to lean on after a summer that ought to be nuked from orbit?

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I got the title from several years of listening to Mrs. D.’s Kindergarteners do their show and tell routine at the end of the day when I sub for them. Only the class “president” for the day gets to show the item, and students must first try to guess what it is based on the initial […]

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 It was a Saturday night. All the kids had been bathed, brushed, storied, and put to bed. I was lounging in bed with my husband watching YouTube videos of specialty candy making and metal- and wood-working with lathes. Suddenly, our leisure was interrupted by the 22 month old wailing and throwing up. He proceeded to […]

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There were likely no or few kids on board EgyptAir Flight 804 that crashed into the Mediterranean Sea, on May 19. Had there been kids on board, we’d be hearing about it a LOT. Of the 224 people on board the Russian metro jet airbus—it crashed in March—17 were children. I know this because each […]

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