Thursday, August 21, 2003

New on Mothers with Attitude

Just in time for the start of school and the resumption of early wake-up calls, Julie Donner Andersen delivers a rallying cry (or maybe a rallying snooze alarm) for sleepyheads in her latest "Therapeutic Laughter" column, Attack of the Morning People. My daughter's always been one of those morning people — the one I can always count on to be up and dressed and self-fed long before my son and I manage to open a bleary eye — but even she's been falling into later and later summer sleeping habits lately. Making that 8:15 a.m. middle school opening bell may be more challenging than I expected, although perhaps nobody will actually notice if I'm driving the car in my PJs. ... Ken Swarner reflects on the many and creative names being given to grandparents these days in the current installment of his Family Man column. In our family, we've had a grandma, grandpa, nana and dada. Also a "tootah," derived form the Russian word for aunt, which is what my kids call my daughter's godmother. Then, too, I guess you could say that my nephew's name for me is a little strange: it's "uncle." I keep trying to persuade him that I'm an aunt, really I am, but he's four years old and he's pretty sure he's got it right. I blame the Teletubbies. ... Teasing is the topic for April Cain's new "Thinking It Over" column, Swimming Upstream in the Food Chain of Childhood. I can't feel too righteously indignant about teasing right now, since my son is apparently still teasing his little campmate on a daily basis. Well, the teachers call it teasing; I think he's just perseverating on the kid's name, yelling it out to him over and over, with no particular malice in his heedlessly impulsive head. Of course, none of that's going to mean much to the kid who's being yelled at. Maybe his mom's somewhere complaining about this mean boy who's teasing her son, and what kind of parents would raise a boy who would do that? Knowing the futility of lecturing about things that are basically impulsive and un-willful, I'm just hoping he'll get distracted and find something new to fixate on until camp's over. And not, let's hope, someone.

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