Grandma Has a Favorite Edition

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S1: This ad free podcast is part of your Slate plus membership. The following podcast contains explicit language.

S2: Welcome to Mom and Dad are fighting Sweet Parenting podcast for Thursday, June 25th. The grandma has a favorite tradition. I’m Dan Coifs. I’m a writer at Slate and the author of the book called The Family The Battle of Myra. Fifteen Harper. He’s 12. We are holed up. Arlington, Virginia. I’m Jimmy Little.

S3: And you. I’m a writer and contributor to his place. Karen hating parenting column and mom to name. Who is seven.

S2: And we live in Los Angeles, California. I’m Elizabeth New. Can’t see right to home school and family travel blog that statue. I’m mom to three little Henry James Oliver six and Teddy playing time currently in the bar, Florida. Today on the show, we’ve got a question about internal family strife caused by grandparents favoritism. Also give advice to a soon to be step aunt. Wondering how she can welcome her newest medicine has always triumphs. We’ve got fails.

S4: We’ve got recommendations. Let’s start with triumphs and or fails. Jamila, what do you have for us this week?

S3: All right. This week I have a triumph. Naima is tic tac obsessed. We have limited her time on the AV and what she’s able to watch on the air. We monitor it. I wish that she didn’t love Tic TAC so much, but like I think I mentioned before that when I saw the page she created in the bile was take tablets, all the little actors and may be set free. I was like, OK, I have to support this in some way, shape or form. And so while we’re working on other ways for her to hone and use her really good editing skills, you know, like she creates content or Tic Tacs or not just, hey, it’s me doing a dance. It’s like a little mini movies. And there, you know, there’s graphics and music and she’s just so creative and good at doing them. And one thing that she constantly wants me to do is to say she has a private tic tac that no one can see. She’s got like 520 videos that really only my cells. One of my former students who she knows quite well and has two little ones who are my godchildren. She’s she follows her like literally these are the only people who get to see all this great content.

S4: And yet Najma is creating a huge productivity to audience ratio.

S3: Yes, absolutely. She’s over delivering by far. And every so often I’ll send a video to one of my friends or whatever. She’s so good at it. So I’ve told her we’re gonna figure out a way for you to to make your creativity public. Like, maybe we’ll just do the YouTube channel that we’ve been saying we’ll do forever. But, you know, in the meantime, she’s playing around Tic-Tac and she always wants me to learn Tic TAC dances with her. And I’m like, please don’t, you know, like, I’m not the best dancer in the world. And now you want me to dance in front of a camera. And even if no one is seeing it, why are you doing this to me? And then one day last week, I was just like, you know what? Okay, fine. And. I had so much fun. I cannot believe that I have denied both of us all of the potential fun that we could have been having from dancing in front of her. I’ve had like two Chloe and Hally, which were the two. I can’t even colomb adorable girls anymore because they’re grown ups now. But two young ladies that are on the show. Grown ish. And they’re signed to Beyonce’s management team. And they’re just incredibly talented singers and musicians. And they put out a new album. They have a song called Do and there’s a do it challenge. And we had so much fun dancing. So that is my Schreier that I finally gave in to my daughter’s incessant demands that I learn dances that are totally above my range of movement in front of a camera.

S1: I’m going to ask you denied yourself and your daughter this pleasure for so long. Yet you still deny the world the pleasure of seeing these you.

S5: Are you going to share at least this one with us? I don’t know.

S3: I guess at some point, yes, I will post a video of us dancing together, you know, and I’ll definitely be posting some of those videos because they’re so good. I just don’t. The take out platform is just so complicated and so not OK in so many ways. There’s so much adult stuff on there, you know, that I don’t want her to get too hooked on sharing things there and getting feedback. But we’re going to figure it out because she really is like a little she’s a little filmmaker in the making and a choreographer.

S4: America demands this content in it in a safe way.

S6: We do. Yeah. Anyway, yeah.

S4: Yeah, that’s a great try. I’m glad that you guys did that together. I think that this is just the beginning of some exciting dance moments. Daughter Elizabeth, what about you?

S7: So I have a fail. We, you know, like to kind of be on the go and out doing things and we have largely not done that. Now we’re lucky enough to live close to the beach and have some water access. But in general, we haven’t really gone out and done anything like adventurous or fun like we normally would. So this weekend I had done some, like homework and found this little place or we could go for a float. But that isn’t very popular. Like, there’s a bunch of springs in Florida that you can put in and float down. I found a little creek and gets kind of great reviews, but hard to find. And we get up super early and make the hour drive. And of course, none of my children my are early risers anyway, but none of them want to go. It’s like I’m ruining their day that we would do this. So they’re all crying, fighting. I’ve like made bunch made breakfast. Well, you have to drive two cars because we have to put one at the bottom, one at the top. So we like go through this whole rigamarole and the place where you park to put in is like under this bridge in the middle of nowhere. And I’m like, well, this is for sure where my car gets stolen. So I park like in rural Florida. We get the kids out, we get all the floats out. You know, we have like a ridiculous ice cream float and a ridiculous donut float like all of us. We have this boat that you can see through the bottom line for me, superfine.

S6: And I have all these life jackets and we get down to the river and it is like an inch of water. Maybe it’s like moving. So I’m like, you know, I can rescue anything. So and now by now, the kids are like, oh, we’re playing in the water. This is fun. We have all the floats. I’m like, well, clearly we do not need these life jackets. I like, you know, take the life jackets back, put the kids in the boat and they can float just fine on the top of the water. But every time Jeff and I get in the floats, like, we just sink the floats to the point of dry. Yeah. Long live. This still does not stop us. We decide that we are just gonna, like, walk down the river because surely it gets deeper right now. We end up like we did find a place where we could kind of float. But of course, that just took us about a third of a mile, a fourth of a mile down the river. And at this point, we’re like a half a mile down, but it’s a four mile float. So it’s like, do we try to do this for miles? Do we hate walk another trial on the river? Exactly. So we end up telling everyone back at this point, they’re all crying because we have now ruined this perfect out of spite, whatever.

S7: Normally we could, like, rescue this because we could look up something else or go stop and eat somewhere or something. But instead, it’s just like, forget it, we’re gonna go home. Yeah, it was it was just a disaster of an outing. We got back, we just went with the neighborhood, has a little pool. So we went there and told everyone our disaster story.

S1: This is the exact kind of thing where typically you just save it by going to Dairy Queen.

S6: Yeah. Right. Yes. And we had ice cream. Yeah.

S1: Right. But you can’t. That’s off the table. So now you really have to live and die by your decisions.

S6: Yeah. And you die. And normally, like we were thinking, like we have a lot of these fails usually, but normally, like in a given week, we are out doing something two or three times a week, like out doing some adventure or trying something. So when they don’t work out, it just feels like no big deal. Like we did this other cool thing yesterday or we’re doing this whole thing. Now, it’s like we haven’t done anything in a month. Thanks. Hi. You know, it’s like we were off the river by nine thirty and everyone was already eating their sandwiches. I had packed for lunch. I was like, well, this is a highlight. So anyway, we all survived, though, and the van was not stolen. So in terms of tryouts, because no one else was there because the river was only an inch deep. Right. Right.

S4: Yes, great fail. You really blew it. Great work.

S6: I really blew it. Very good. OK. Dan, how about you?

S1: So I have a fail that my daughter kind of turned into a triumph due to her generosity of spirit. So we used screen time on the kids phones. That’s the little like parental control, I guess any one control device where you can put in a four digit passcode. And it measures the amount of time that a kid is using the phone using various apps and at a certain time he can just how it’s cut off. And after the kids have used it for X hours or after 9:00 p.m. or whatever, they have to have this four digit code to unlock it.

S4: You can see when kids try to unlock it because it’ll be like four failed past six failed pass code attempts. And we’ve had the same passcode on the kids phones for like two years now. And it was the final four digits of Aliya’s home phone number. Growing up in Accokeek, Maryland, and the fail is that we exhibited poor tradecraft and Harper observed us typing in the code and cracked it. And so she was therefore able to give herself more screen time whenever she wanted to because she now knew the secret code. The Triumph is that she confessed she might get as soon as she knew she confessed or lie. Seems like it was within a day or ask if she went to Alyea, notably, not me. Yeah. It said, Mommy, I have to tell you something. I saw the secret code for screentime and then I used it and I feel bad. And you have to change the code because now I know it.

S1: So I thought it was very sweet. And so we thanked her for telling us and told her what what how great it was that she was honest. And then we changed the code to a different number, which I’m sure she’ll crack in a matter of days. But it’s like it is funny that we had this thing that we have to use all the time, because frequently you have to give the kids another minute or another 15 minutes to send a text that they want them to send or whatever. And so when that happens, we’re always like taking the phone and then like hiding it and surreptitiously taping the numbers. Sometimes I pretend to tape fake numbers so they can’t read my. My hand gestures. But it turns out we would be terrible spies because Harper just saw us do it in the middle of the day.

S4: But I’m proud of her for coming to us and saying that she had seen this and am proud. Kathy, low levels of guilt we instilled in her that caused her to confess this thing. It’s still sort of feels like an overall feel that we have to use this thing, that we’ve never found a better way to just like get them to self manage their own screen time. But of course, I can’t tell a don’t on my own screen. Right. Yeah. So why do I expect maybe Alyea should put a coat on my phone?

S6: Yeah, well, we have a similar issue.

S7: Henry is like very good at memorizing numbers and patterns and things. And I changed it to be the longer password. And then I just use numbers that I want him to memorize anyway. So like, I’ve used my phone number, the first part and then the first purpose. The last part and then Jeff’s phone number. So I’m currently changing it as soon as he gets it. But as a result, he’s memorized a whole series of phone numbers, his zip code. So he thinks he’s getting the best of me. But actually, he can now recite all these numbers that we need him to know.

S6: Actually, he’s learning. Yeah. And I’m always like, congratulations, you have cracked code and now I have changed it.

S4: That’s good. Yeah, I guess we didn’t use this at all. Now, Harper just knows the last four digits of alias phone number from 30 years ago now. Useful.

S3: I wish name I name it typically is really good at remembering numbers. But she decided to reset the passcode so that her school issued. I’ve had and we’ve not been able to use it for it during this shift. So. So she chose the new she chose a new password for reasons I know she kept using notes and then it didn’t like the iPhone to say, you know, like I’ve had to say, well, and I forget whatever time period it was, it was like for 48 hours, something I had never seen before. Yeah. Is it really just give up? Just don’t even come back, so.

S6: Well, school’s out.

S1: Although, yes, she is never going back. All right. Let’s move on to the rest of the show. But first, of course, we’ve got some business to talk about. Sign up for Slate’s parenting newsletter. It’s the best place to be notified about all our family related content, including mom and dad are fighting care and feeding, starring Jamilah Lemieux. And much more. It is also a fun personal e-mail for me. Each and every week. So sign up at Slate dot com slash parenting e-mail. Check us out on Facebook. Just search for slate parenting. It’s a really active community. We moderate it so everyone’s pretty nice. You get lots of answers to parenting questions and pose questions that we can answer here on the show. Just search for sleep parenting on Facebook dot com. You can also find our live Keryn feeding shows on Facebook each Tuesday at 11:00 Eastern. Nicole Cliffe, the great and wise Nicole Cliff is answering your questions live on Facebook. If you can’t catch a live, you can find all the previous episodes on Slate’s YouTube page. Finally, we are working on a few special bonus. Back to school episodes in July and August. So, please, we need you to send all your back to school related questions to mom and dad had slate dot.com questions about remote school, about in-person school, about high school or elementary school or middle school or gym class, which they don’t even call gym class anymore. They call it PE or the new math, whatever. Any school related questions you have? Send them in mom or dad at Slate dot com. All right. Back to the show. Let’s move on to our first listener question. We’ve got to today. This one is being read by the incomparable Shasha Leonhard.

S8: My mom and dad, my husband and I are fortunate to live within 30 minutes of both our sets of parents. They babysit our kids regularly, or at least they did before the pandemic, and we are starting to allow it again. My husband’s brother and his wife and their three kids also live in close proximity. The issue, the shared grandparents. My husband’s parents watch our kids way more than theirs. Grandma has repeatedly flaked on her standing baby sitting on them and rarely, if ever, commits to date nights, work event nights or other sporadic babysitting requests on our side. She’s never said no to us. This causes a ton of hurt for my brother in law who fears that the grandkids like my kids more than theirs. Honestly, I fear this, too. Though I’ve gently confronted Grandma twice about it and she swears it’s not true. I think it’s mostly that my nieces and nephews are just more rambunctious than my two kids. But they are lovely children. Last week I told grandma that she needed to set up some more time with their kids or at risk permanently damaging her relationship with their family. She said she will. Meanwhile, my kid has been begging for a grandma sleepover. I want to say yes, but I feel like I can’t until stuff on the other side is settled. My sister in law is one of my best friends and I would hate to hurt her. But I also don’t want to deny my kid his Greenlawn time. I keep trying to broker understanding and communication and grease the wheels of action. What more can I do? And should I hit my grandma fully back with my kids knowing it’ll hurt my other family members? Family is the worst slash. The best help. Sincerely. What the heck?

S3: Everybody, you know, I’ve noticed both here and in care and feeding. We do a lot of letters from wives about issues with in-laws that it just seems that perhaps they’re Yasmine’s should be concerned about.

S6: Like, yes, that sounds like a lot of work to have to care.

S3: Another entire set of adults. In addition to your own parents and managing their needs and concerns when their own child isn’t the one standing up and saying, maybe I need to talk to my mom about this. So I think it’s great letter writer that you have spoken up about this and that you’ve attempted to have this conversation. And you know what? I’d be willing to bet that that little thing you slipped in about the other children being a bit more rambunctious than you’re all. And and we don’t know the ages of the kids. It could be that one set is older or the other side is younger. And these grandparents feel more comfortable with the older kids and younger kids or whatever, or that your children are simply more well behaved, if you will, when they spend time with their grandparents and angels as my as my guests. They’re totally angels. Yeah. And I also think that your husband should be a part of this conversation and maybe he should be having it without you, because perhaps there’s something that his mother doesn’t feel comfortable saying about her other daughter in law to you or about the children or about why it’s just so easy for them to spend time with your kids and not your in-laws children. But I also think that parent time is not promised forever. But grandparent time certainly is not a promise to our children for as long as parent time is, and that you should not deny your own children the opportunity to spend time with their grandparents out of fear of making the other kids feel bad, but perhaps encouraging ways to integrate that time, integrating the other children into this. So maybe the grandma sleepovers for all of the kids and one of the adults, maybe your husband is not pulling his weight. And this letter can be the one to stay over and provide some assistance.

S1: And then you could have a drink with your sister in law who’s one of your best friends.

S6: Yes. Yes. So I caved in on the sister in law thing, too, and thought that maybe she should talk to her sister in law. Because I think if presented like this, I wonder if the sister in law would say, like, my intent was never to deny your children, like my beef is not with you, you, because it sounds like if they’re friends, like, would you? I just think my sister doesn’t have children, but I would not say to her, like my issue with my parents or my husband’s parents.

S7: Right. Is is the reason why then your children should not get something as a friend or as I would want her children to have that time. It’s just frustrating that mine aren’t getting that time. So I wonder if a conversation with her sister in law to say, like, hey, I have brought it up, but, you know, I’m feeling guilty that they get all this time. Kind of. What do you envision my role in this to be?

S6: Because to me, I agree that this husband should die like these are his parents. But I do think some of this comes from her place of like she doesn’t want to bring hurt to this other family. And so much of that can just be, I think, SMI fixed by communicating to the person, you know, to the sister in law and to the brother in law, like, hey, we’re not intending to hurt you. And I’m not sure how you want this to go. And I like your idea of like a group thing. I think also, if you’re worried that it might hurt, like the cousins, like organize something with all the cousins and have your in-laws there, even if it’s not like at their house, I just think you can’t change other people.

S7: Like nothing you are going to do is going to change this grandmother’s behavior like you’ve said things. So you just have to decide, like how you’re willing to have your behavior change. And it you know, I think it’s hard because you have a bunch of parties that that you don’t want to hurt and you want to be close to grandma, grandpa and your in-laws, your sister in laws and information now. I think she should talk to the sister in law. I think that might be the key to her guilt, because I think that’s what this is. She feels guilty about it.

S4: You’re right that this stems from her guilt and that that guilt comes from a good hearted place. But I don’t think she should talk to the sister in law, like I think it is a miracle that this situation has not already blown up in her face, like with fiery lava flying down from one familial direction or another, with the other family being pissed at her or the mother in law complaining to her husband about her or something. You just need to get out of this situation while the gittin is good. As Jamila says, make your husband and his brother the two people who are actually related to her, who seem to not be worrying about this at all. Make them deal with it. If it really is bothering your brother in law and his wife that they are not getting their share of the grandmother time, let them worry about that problem. I also agree that you can do things on your own to help build a bond between everyone in the family. You can host events for everyone. You can have those kids over to your house and help with babysitting when they need some babysitting. You can have those kids over to your house even though they’re rambunctious and bring your mother in law and have everyone over there. But the last thing you should be doing, I think, is like going not to any of the people who are directly involved, but to this other poor woman who has to deal with this. And like, trying to, like, get her to assuage your guilt. I feel like that’s just asking for trouble. Maybe you’re such great friends that it will go great. I think that you can probably take it as a given that what you’re a good friend, the sister in law wants is not for your kids to stop seeing the grandmother. And I don’t think you need to, like, come to her to get that, like, assuagement. I just wish that you would take a step back and let the people for whom this is a problem in which they should be vested. Deal with this problem.

S7: I agree with that. I just also think if it’s your friend that you say, like, how can I help in this matter? Like, I’ve talked to her, I’m not really sure there’s much more I could do.

S4: I think that’s a good conversation to have. Yeah, but I think the conversation like. Is it okay if my kids see grandma?

S6: No. No. No sign. Yes. No. You don’t need her permission. Yeah.

S7: I think I’m asking more of our conversation where you say, like, I know this is a frustrating thing and this is resumed for us. Like we are going back to see grandma. I know this is a frustrating situation, like how can I help in this? Because I don’t want this to become a wedge in our relationship. And I know that our mother in law, not taking your kids or however you want to phrase that is something that hurts you.

S4: Okay, I approve that conversation. It’s the damn case stamp of approval.

S6: I just I, I think in these family situations, like a lot of times there’s not enough discussion about things in an adult way. But I agree with you like it is not her problem to fix except that she has this relationship she wants to person.

S4: I am I am lucky in that all the various grandparents in my family are very equally loving and equally giving up time to the extent that they can give it to all their various grandchildren. But we’re experiencing like a kind of version of this now in that Collier’s mom lives across the street from all his brother. And so they get usually more grandparents time than us, obviously, and we try and give our kids as much as we possibly can. But for the last six months, they’ve had, of course, insanely more grandparent time. And one thing that has been really useful during this has been seeing Alice’s brother and his wife making a point of including us in the stuff that’s going on around their house with Kiki, with mother in law, and Gail making those Zoome calls happen. And, you know, to the extent that you, the letter writer cans can foster big group events, I think that that will help both build that relationship with the grandchildren and normalize more time that the grandmother spends with them and also help that other families see that you want these relationships to persist. So I do think that that is good advice and I think that that’s worth following up on. Jamila, how can she get her husband to, like, take the step? You just got to, like, lay down the law, right? Be like if you’ve got a problem with his deal with that problem.

S3: I think so. I think why is he even aware of it?

S4: Great question.

S3: That’s a great question. And to talking to the sister in law may open up some things that the letter writer isn’t aware of. Because I wonder if there’s an issue between the grandparents and her or the grandparents and their son that maybe the letter writer is not aware of. But I think the husband could be part of unlocking this so that the letter writer can get out of a situation that really does not have anything to do with her. And yes, she is the only one taking responsibility.

S6: Yeah, well, what if there’s like a situation with the grandparents feel like her family needs more help? Right. Like they don’t back down. And that’s Natalie. You seem overwhelmed. I mean, yeah. You never know.

S7: Like, everything is not always equal the time and we don’t always know why and we don’t always understand what’s at play. So I think, like, there’s a chance also that they never back down for them because they feel like it would be a bigger deal if they did. I mean, we don’t we don’t know we don’t know any of the details or. I’m to speculate, though.

S6: Yeah. It’s so much more fun to say it. If the other family had written in and said, like, I’m getting unfair treatment, you know, what advice do you give them? And I think some of that is like, you can’t change what they’re going to do. So you can address it or you can make other plans. Like, don’t rely on them as much then. Yes. That’s like hurtful.

S7: You can have her over and try to build that relationship, but you can’t change how they’re approaching the situation or whatever it’s happened. You can fix it.

S4: All right, letter writer, we want you to please write us back at mom and dad. It’s like. Com and give us an update once you manage to extricate yourself from the situation you’ve gotten yourself into. We want to know how it went. And if this conversation, if you have it with your sister in law, helped make things a little bit more clear. Thank you for the question. Once again, listeners, if you’ve got a family conundrum you want us to weigh in on, send it in. Mom and dad at CENTCOM or post the Facebook group and we might pull it from there. All right. On to our second question once again, read by the inimitable Shasha Leonhard.

S8: Dear mom and dad are fighting. My brother is getting married soon and his future wife has a pre-teen daughter. I haven’t met her yet. This is the very first time that anyone in our family has welcomed a stepchild into our family. I want to be respectful of her biological family, but I would also like to be inclusive and welcoming to my brother’s new stepdaughter. And why her aunt or her stepdad, sister are my children, her cousins? Will my parents be her grandparents? Aside from labels, how do I make sure she feels welcomed, included and loved into the family? We’re really excited to get to know her. Any tips on how to proceed? Thanks.

S7: In terms of the label, you can just be an aunt. I mean, she’s also a pre-teen, so she’ll probably have some thoughts on this. And we end. We don’t know how, like, enthusiastic she is about getting a new family or what those situations are. So I think taking some cues from her is important. But I think that you can never have too much family and being the people that love you. And I know for us, like we use the term aunts with a lot of my very close friends who are not related to me, but are sort of like my family by choice. And my kids call them Aunt Mary and Katherine, like all of that to denote like this is a relationship which has been here for a long time and as you know, closer than just mommy’s friend. So I think that you can use that it’s fundamentally different to me than having a step parent, because a lot of people have like just one mom or just one dad or two moms, two dads. But there aren’t a whole lot of I think you might be more attached to the idea of like this is a step mom, like replacing your mom. But like an aunt and uncle, you can have a ton of those. There’s no cap. There’s no cap to the number of aunts you can have. So I think that’s fine. But again, she might have other thoughts. And I think you could certainly sign things, you know, and to ever and address yourself as I’m her aunt, like whatever in terms of other ways to welcome her. I think the goal should be like to be as welcoming as possible without being extremely awkward. So whatever you would do to welcome a pre-teen like, I don’t know the situation in which you’re going to see her, but certainly you could send her something before the wedding that she could use at the wedding. I do find that sometimes when you feel really awkward about something, you go like way overboard. It’s awkward the other way. So I would just kind of check and make sure that what you’re doing seems like completely normal for a pre-teen, you know, that you would know and that you would love. It sounds like you have children, so you probably know kind of how you would treat like other cousins and what you would send them in a way to welcome them.

S3: So I love what you said at the beginning, that you can’t have too much family, you can’t have too many people who love and care about you. And that I don’t think there has to be a big spectacle or, you know, a lot of ceremony around welcoming her into the family. I think that the aunt honorific, which is something that my daughter calls my closest friends, Auntie So-and-so, and also because she has a stepmother and her stepmother has parents. There are a lot of people who consider Nyima grandchild. You know, it has not been a bad thing. It’s been great for her to have other places to go and be loved on as family and treat as family and that they should just treat her as they would any other child in the family. So when their presence being given, you know, that she is also receiving something and she’s receiving something of the same quality and the same thought and intention that was put into choosing this president that she’s welcomed warmly. And I think facilitating time with her and children in the family, wherever possible is a good thing and a way to help her really feel like part of her new family, because that’s exactly what you all are on. Uncle are much easier to navigate than, say, grandma, grandpa, mom and dad. But I think that like your son, who also has step siblings. My father taught us that we weren’t. We never say stepsister’s. And I have two siblings that are his daughters and that, you know, they have the same. Yeah, same dad. I was not allowed to say half sister, you know, it was like those were my sisters and the siblings that I had by marriage were, you know, extended family relatives was the phrase that we used. They were part of my extended family.

S4: This is all really great advice and extremely lovely sentiments. This idea that you can never have too much family. I think that’s exactly right. The only thing I would add is you talk about welcoming her into the family the same way you would welcome any new niece or nephew into the family. But it’s a little bit different in that your previous experience welcoming new nieces and nephews into the family happened when they were babies. Right. And they had no idea what you were doing or how excited you were. That excitement was directed at the parents in those moments. It’s worth remembering that this is a fully cogent pre-teen human being with her own emotions and feelings about this, including possibly her own emotions and feelings about this upcoming wedding. But you don’t know anything about. I would urge you to be welcoming, but to let her govern the extent to which you are trying to become her like special. Favorite, at least at the beginning, and maybe this is just part and parcel of Elizabeth’s advice to like. Don’t go overboard, you know, like try and be cool. But in general, I just want you to really pay attention to her responses and the signals that she is giving and to respect those signals. And if you feel like she is standoffish or not into it right away, like don’t push it at first, you presumably have your whole life to build a relationship with this person. And assuming that it’s all going to happen at the wedding or the first time you get together or the first Zoome call or whatever is a real recipe for her feeling like you’re pushing this like random lady who isn’t even her, you know, step dad, it’s her step hand or whatever is like all over. So like. Take it slow and read her signals and be kind and welcoming and warm. But remember that she has as much to say about the state of this relationship as you do. You’re not building it from zero the way you did with all your other nieces and nephews and all the other cousins in that family. So, like, bear that in mind as you’re doing this. I think that’s very fair. I mean, I don’t I like rain on the parade of you can’t ever have too much family. Do you have another chance to build a wonderful relationship? You can be an A.. All that stuff is true. And in the long run, I have faith that that will be true for you and this girl. But just watch her and listen. Listen to what she has to say and listen to the signals that she is giving to you as you build this relationship. And don’t go in hoping it’ll all happen at once.

S7: I totally agree with that. Even when you’re somewhere and you meet someone new, you don’t want the person who is, like, jumping on you and trying to do grampa’s right.

S6: That’s not fun for anybody. So and then I think take into account that she’s a pre-teen girl, a notoriously easy. Yes. I mean, such a joy. And that doesn’t have to dampen your excitement about it. But like you said, I think Play It Cool is kind of the best advice. Like in person. Play it cool.

S1: It’s very hard for adults to play cool because we’re not cool.

S6: Yeah. Yeah.

S3: Teenagers are not always kind. That’s OK.

S4: That’s OK. Absolutely true. True of kids of all age in fact. Yes. And I have faith that you will eventually generally win this new niece over. All right. Good luck. Step aunt. Thank you for the question. Our show relies on questions from you, our listeners. So please, if you have something you want to hear us talk about on the show, you know the drill. Write us a question. Even if it’s not a real question, make up a question about a thing you want us to talk about. We don’t care. E-mail us at mom or dad. It’s like dot com. We treat every question as if it’s real. Even the ones that you obviously stole from the book, Little Women. All right. The show isn’t over yet. It is time for recommendations. Elizabeth, what do you have to recommend?

S6: Okay, so this is one of those just a little commendation. But to me, I was going to act like I’m crazy, but it’s okay.

S7: I think if it you have some new found like need to make some outdoor play because it’s summer. What we did is we went and we got some deck railing from the hardware store and they make perfect car ramps and we bought three of them. And they’re pre-treated words you can keep outside. And the kids have been stacking them on things and racing cars down and just having a great time. You don’t need a lot of space to be able to do that. And Amazon sells a whole bunch of stuff that costs a whole lot more than three pieces of deck railing. You know, and non cover times, I would say, like bring your kid with you and bring a little car to pick out the wood. But instead, I sent Jeff with a car to make sure that the the wood was the right size. But you can also measure and look online, but they make for great fun and the kids can race the stuff all over the place. And yeah, it’s been a have been very fun in our backyard.

S4: Classic Elizabeth recommendation. At least if people follow this one, they won’t, as one Facebook user revealed this week. Murder one million praying mantises by not hatching them correctly to me. Hello. What are you recommending?

S3: So for those of you who spent a good amount of time on Instagram, you may have come across an exercise contraption called the D.V. Method. It’s designed to help you expand the size of your gluteus maximus. You’re trying to maximize your gluteus maximus during quarantine and not just with cornbread and cookies like I have. I got one recently. It’s pretty cool. They’re exercises and things that you can do, like just videos on YouTube to follow. If you are trying to commit to an exercise journey that has a focus on making your bottom larger. I recommend the divi method. It’s been pretty fun and it’s like a squat machine essentially. And there’s other exercises you can do. I think about all types of stuff that you can do for your abs and other parts of your body, but if you’re focused on building up your butt. This is me expressing solidarity with many of our nonblack listeners and also many of our black listeners, because now all of us have been huge. But nationally, some of us have to work really hard to get one. And so I invite you to join me on this journey, even though I don’t want anyone else’s life to get bigger. I want everyone else’s versus the exact same size so that when I come out of quarantine and mine is very big, I’m special.

S4: I got bad news for your Jameela. I’m in hot pursuit of ass size. I am recommending our beloved former co-host, Carvelle Wallis. Rest in peace. Carvelle here is on the New York Times daily podcast this week. He was honored on Sunday reading his totally lovely parenting essay. Facing the Wind and also appeared in, I think, of the New York Times magazine. But he’s on the daily reading. It did give he gives a great performance. But go find it. Go listen to it. We’ll have a. The show soon, of course, but for now, you can get your dose of Carvelle on New York Times daily podcast. It’s really good. We’ll post a link in the show notes.

S9: That’s our show. Thanks to everyone who sent in your questions. One more time if you have a question. E-mail us at mom or dad at Slocomb so we can solve it or possibly make it worse. Or you can posters in these sleep, parents on Facebook, just search for sleep, parenting on Facebook. Mom and Dad are fighting is produced by Rosemary Nelson Liesbeth New Camp MTV Omu. I’m Dan Coates. Thanks for listening.

S1: Hello, Slate plus members, thank you so, so much for your support. We are really grateful for the support you give Slocomb. We couldn’t do this show without you. Literally, they would kick us out the door if even one of you quit Slate plus. So it’s the run up to July 4th, which means it is just about fireworks season in some big cities like New York. It is already fireworks season. We are receiving reports that apparently professional grade fireworks are going off every night in Brooklyn. I’m happy that is not currently happening to me. But of course, fireworks are just a part of the summer. And there are, you know, the fireworks that the city sets off where you go sit on a blanket in the park. In olden times, pre covered. And you would watch them while the symphony plays the 1812 Overture or whatever. But today we are talking about amateur fireworks, glorious amateur fireworks, sketchy as fireworks that you drive across the border to South Carolina or Illinois to buy. Then you set them off in the street at like eleven o’clock at night and then you run before anyone comes out of their house to yell at you. And Elizabeth, when you guys were kids. Did your parents let you set off fireworks?

S4: And what happened when they did? Hell, no.

S3: Absolutely not. I had no desire to indulge in such foolishness. And I think it’s driving from Illinois to Indiana and Wisconsin.

S4: We always had to go to Illinois.

S3: Maybe I felt like most of the people I knew they were doing in Chicago, they were going to Indiana. I guess that was where we were. I don’t know. Maybe they were selling them in the sun downtown parts of Illinois. And that’s why folks aren’t going there to get them. But either way, no, I hate I hate I hate amateur fireworks. And I’ve only I’ve lived in Chicago, Washington, D.C.. Brooklyn, New York. And now Inglewood, California. I’ve never had a break from these fireworks. And I hate I hate them. I’m tired. One woke me up last night, and that’s something that’s never happened before. Like, it woke me up.

S6: I hate it. I’m also terrified of blowing my hand off with fireworks. So this fear I think I’ve had since I was a child.

S7: I mean, we were allowed to have, like, little sparklers and that was like enough excitement for me. But when we lived in another with us, they for that New Year’s and then like the day before and maybe the day after is just like unrestricted fireworks purchasing. So the whole rest of the year you may not have fireworks. And then about like a month before New Year’s, they let you come by as many as you want and you can only set them off on these days. And you can Google YouTube for videos of us because it’s completely insane. And I can post one, too. Then they just let everybody go and light as many as they want on New Year’s in these old towns and everywhere. And it is like being under siege. And the children set them off down like the alleyways in the town and they’re going everywhere. And as if I wasn’t scared enough, I decided that, you know, since we are living now, I needed to, like, really go see it. And we my parents are visiting. So they were gonna say to the kids and we were gonna bike into town and I got like a block and one, like, shot in front of my face.

S4: I was like, the Adam Care. Those medieval towns famous for burning down like Johnny five nights of here, the place.

S6: It is it is such a problem that they lock the garbage cans and stuff because people throw them in there and they thrown down in the sewers and they I guess they figure, get it all out. But Slay Rum’s in the Netherlands. Yeah. So I moved from there to Florida where people just do that. You know, whenever for whatever reason. And I’m sure if you looked up Florida man firework, there’s smoke. That’s terrible things that have happened. But I agree they have been going off like like full ones that you can see, you know, forever going off here. The sound doesn’t really bother me because since we live so close to the military base like they’re bombing all the time, I don’t know whether it’s fireworks or the the brains, but it’s actually get hurt.

S5: I mean, I think people really do get hurt.

S6: It’s not like someone’s gonna get hurt. I think people do get hurt. Are they not reporting it on the news anymore?

S3: Because I feel like when I was a kid, there was always like last night, you know, a child lost his finger like that, just not in four. Is that a bigger and bigger.

S4: I was all right. I can’t believe that I have to be the lonely guy who stands up for shitty amateur fireworks and Mohammed Atta fighting a I think the fireworks are a lot less likely to blow your hand off now than they were with your kids.

S6: Well, do you think you’d like fireworks technology? You’ve gotten better later.

S4: I mean, I think the regulatory state has really done a great job on the illegal fireworks industry. Look, I know kids are still blowing their fingers off. If you are a listener and you’ve blown your finger off, please let us know. But I would like to stand up for what I think is an essentially harmless tradition of. On July 4th, going out in your street with a couple of things that like blow sparks in the sky and spin around and make were noises and like send out different colors of smoke and with a responsible adults somewhere near lighting them, running away, screaming, and then watching them go off with great joy and delight like that was an indelible part of my childhood on Sheffield Avenue in Whitefish Bay, Wisconsin. And we would only do it on July 4th. That was the special day. It wasn’t a law or anything. That was just the day that we could get her parents to agree to it and we loved it. Now, I recognize that if you live in Inglewood or Brooklyn, where people are just setting off fireworks all the time, where apparently literally in Brooklyn, they are like the kinds of fireworks you see at the Macy’s Day Parade. But just like someone got them in is shooting them off every night at 3:00 in the morning. Obviously, that sucks.

S6: You’re talking about like recreational like what you can buy at the store. Not you haven’t had to go do anything.

S4: I mean, you do want to. I mean, you do want things that you would have to cross a border to get where they’re like, what go on in Florida or Alabama?

S6: Well, no, I agree with that. I could stay here. California likewise places you.

S4: Right. But like in Wisconsin, you can buy those. Maybe they do go to Indiana. Maybe I’m remembering wrong. It’s totally possible because it wasn’t me. You ever got them. It was Mark Nimmons dad. Mark Minimum’s dad would drive somewhere by a bunch of fireworks, bring them back. And Mark and I and our friend issue would go out in the street and with Mark’s dad’s help, blow them up on the Fourth of July. And it was great. We loved it. And there would always be some older kids who would bring bottle rockets. And then we would be like, don’t shoot those near us. And then they would shoot on right past us and then we’d all run. I was great and relatively harmless. I mean, I’m sure it’s not relatively harmless and the ocean numbers are horrible.

S6: Do you do this with your kids now? Yes. So my hope is that someone in the neighborhood has the fireworks and we can, like, say you’re not legally liable. Well, plausible deniability. I want to be like this. I see how this is cool and very fun, but it’s not the kind of cruel and fun I want to be in charge of. I want to be able to shake my finger later and be like, oh, yeah, Arabi. Yeah.

S4: So, Jamilah, would you ever, ever, ever do it?

S3: No. In fact, I want fireworks to be embroiled in some sort of racist or ME2 controversy. So they canceled. I don’t want to ever say I’ve had enough. I this is my it’s. And I don’t I this year has been worse and I’ve heard that because there are so many, you know, small like events. I mean, obviously, folks are not buying the fireworks that would have gone to the Macy’s Day Parade, but perhaps the things that would have gone to the local church. You know, that puts on a big fireworks show somehow landed in the community. And like, there’s just so many of them. And it’s so like it’s been going on since, like, I feel like May you know, I just need a break. It’s like every few minutes, just over and over, I’m like, how could it still be gratifying? How could it still be fun? And everyday I have to stop myself from standing on my balcony on my patio, rather, and yelling obscenities.

S4: It would be a great way to get a bottle rocket shot at you.

S6: Yeah. Do you like going to legitimate fireworks shows?

S3: I hadn’t been 20 years when I was growing up. I would go to Navy. I mean, at Navy Pier. They do great fireworks there in Chicago too. But the taste of Chicago, they would always be a big third of July, usually like a Midwestern has always. Yeah. And that was a lot of fun. I mean, I’m also so Anzai patriotism the like. The fireworks were just like their own pretty thing that I enjoyed. Independent like the spirit behind them.

S6: But now I’m just like, I want it all gone. Oh, I’m the Grinch on aggression. So fireworks. I like big fireworks. Sounds like I love them unless I find masc unbelievably boring.

S4: I like their variety and Freddie and their music and I so to sit there for four hours before they even before they start now.

S6: That means, you know. No, that means you didn’t do your planning. You don’t know where to go. You know, the key to this is to find a place that is quick in, quick out you go. You see this book, you get out the best part.

S3: It was just like who you went with, you know, like especially when I get to be like I remember when the last ones I went to, I just graduated from high school, you know? And so, like, I was out there with my girlfriend. Then there were boys out there and that was fun for me. But the actual fireworks themselves were quite climatic also. It was post 9/11 and I thought that a terror attack was happening. And at some point I took off and ran.

S7: Having lived near Air Force bases, there is there is no distinguishing feature between them dropping bombs on the range and fireworks going off. So that is a good djinnit. Funny but legitimate concern.

S4: It’s a very scary sound. The only experience we ever had, Elizabeth, it was like your experience almost getting blown off your bike in Delft was when we lived in Hawaii, where New Year’s Eve is spaceward, similar to what it’s like in Delft and what it’s like in many Asian places where it’s just like that is the night for fireworks. They did him a little on the 4th of July. They do him at other times. But on New Year’s Eve, we went out to dinner with some friends on the way home from dinner. This is like at seven thirty at night. It was hours before midnight and just driving up the mountain to our house. It was like being in a war zone. And there was just it was yeah. There was so much smoke. Yeah. We could see the road. There’s like things we’d whiz past our car in the night and we drove past a house that was already on fire. That was something. So I’m not in favor of everyone having fireworks, but I am in favor of marked in the dad getting you some fireworks in Indiana or wherever. That’s where I come down on this issue. Martin Intiman, give me a call. You need some firewood? I need some fireworks from your dad. Right. Slate plus members, thank you so much for joining us for this special Slate plus segment where we solved fireworks. We couldn’t do this without you. We’re so grateful your support. We’ll talk to you next week.