Or: What do you do when your 4-year-old has much older brothers? Last night Middle was telling me about the short story he read in English class yesterday, and I asked if I could read it. It was “Charles,” by Shirley Jackson. The only Shirley Jackson story I ever remember reading was—of course—“The Lottery,” and I was surprised by how […]
Recent Posts By Kristin van Ogtrop
When I started working at Real Simple, a former colleague said “Real Simple is for people whose mothers didn’t teach them how to do all that stuff.” I knew exactly what she meant by that stuff: cooking; cleaning; ironing; doing laundry; planting perennials; balancing a checkbook; painting a wall; painting a fingernail; sewing on a button. All of those small-but-important things […]
Well, now we’re in the thick of summer, which means that all over America, parents are breathing down their kids’ necks about how much time they spend playing Xbox 360. Or is that just at my house? We have a general rule of thumb, which is that the kids get 1 hour of screen time on school days and 1.5 […]
1. Notice top of hamster’s cage is ajar; wonder if your house is inhabited by fairies as no one admits to knocking into cage. 2. Look under every surface on entire first floor. Wonder: Can hamsters climb stairs? Ponder. 3. Console children. 4. Nag children, who on second thought don’t seem that upset and in fact are not searching as strenuously as you […]
Like many American families, we spend a fair amount of time in the car in the summer. Middle goes to sleepaway camp, which involves road trips for drop-off, visiting day, and pickup. Our August vacation begins and ends with a gigantic trek to and from New Hampshire, where we arrive just in the nick of time before we all kill each […]
When I was in second grade, I received a report card that my mother will apparently never forget. It wasn’t the grades that were memorable; it was the teacher’s comments. “Has trouble waiting her turn,” “calls out the answer,” “interrupts others”—you get the picture. It was, in short, all about me, me, me. I blame genetics: My father calls out the answer, and so on. So do two of my sons. There is a well-intentioned but decidedly obnoxious show-offy streak that runs through my whole family.
Yesterday afternoon I was walking down the street when I saw a beautiful woman of a certain age. Maybe she was in her late 70s, maybe mid-80s, who knows. All I know is that she had the most amazing cheekbones. Imagine Sophia Loren, but older and with gray hair and definitely not a movie star. After the woman walked past […]