The “Toys or Trash” Edition

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S1: Just to give you a heads up, one of us is bound to say something not suitable for little ears. It is, after all, the one hour a day I spend away from my children. Welcome to mom and dad are fighting Slate’s parenting podcast for Thursday, December 2nd, that toys are trash edition. I’m Elizabeth Newcamp. I write the homeschool and family travel blog that starts school and the mom to three little Henry, who’s nine. Oliver, who’s seven. And Teddy, who’s five. We live in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

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S2: I’m Zack Rosen. I host the best advice show, a very tiny advice show featuring your best advice. I live in Detroit with my family. Noah is four and Army is one.

S3: My name is Jamilah Lemieux. I’m a writer, contributor to Slate’s care and feeding parenting column. And mom Naima, who’s eight and a half and we live in Los Angeles, California.

S1: On today’s show, we answer a question from some parents whose kids keep bringing home toys when they go to play at the neighbors. How do you politely refuse donations you don’t want? Then we discuss how to prepare a skittish four year old for an overnight medical procedure on Slate Plus. Happy Hanukkah! We are discussing religious customs and how we do or don’t introduce them to our kids. First, though, we’re going to kick off the show with triumphs and fails. Jamilah Do you have a triumph or fail for us this week?

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S3: Name and I went to a birthday party this weekend for a young man who’s a friend of mine son. He turned 11. He’s friends with Naima. I waited till the last minute to buy a gift and a card or whatever. I get what I think is a really great gift and I see your card in it says, When I see you, I see royalty. I got this from a black bookstore. Add some black books and the Box Hill Mall. And on the inside it says, Period. So when I see you, I see royalty, period. I’m like, That’s a nice message, right? For a young man. And then on the inside, it also has a little picture of Lena Horne, and it says you have to be taught to be second class. You’re not born that way. And I was like, OK, cool. And I was like, You know, this is a nice feminist boy. I can buy him a card with a woman on the inside. Like that was like, why would I not buy him this card? Because it have the picture of a woman on the inside? Lena Horne, the hero. So I buy the card. So we’re filling out the car in the car. Before the party. I take another look at the card. And then I read it to myself again, and I think it’s intended to be. Read more Along the lines of when I see you, I see royalty. Period, like I think this is a card made for thirty five year old black woman and I bought it for an 11 year old black boy. And that was not my best move. And so I fill it out in the car. The only pin I have is pink, and so I write, Hey, hope we can all have a good laugh at this card. I didn’t think it through, but you are royalty. And so Naima then pulls out a black pen that she was holding out on me, I guess. And instead of just signing her name, she writes, I tried to be more professional than my mom and use black ink. Happy birthday, anyway, mama. So all that to say, we’re officially that family. This is how we show up to your birthday party with a weird card and a weird story. Yeah, not my. Not my best purchase. Not my best presentation to a young, prepubescent man.

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S2: I just like how you, the journalist, is being edited by your daughter in real

S3: life, in real life. Kind of silly. She does that to me out loud, she’ll say. Say that again. But this time saying, like she’ll have slipped tons of words around her, like shortened it a little bit.

S2: Editor and director Naima.

S1: I love that so much. Oh all right. Zak try and prevail.

S2: I’m going to follow that fail with a fail. This is an embarrassing one, kind of. My 14 month old has like a lot of teeth now. He has like four top teeth touching each other. Two on the bottom, touching each other. And I’m telling you that they’re touching each other because that means we’re supposed to be brushing teeth now. Yes, according to dentists. And like, I don’t know how the heck to brush his teeth. He wants no part of it. Like this is his dental hygiene, and I feel like I need to be more persistent, I feel like I need to, but I don’t want to give him this bad association of, like, you know, holding his arms down and forcing his mouth open to brush, because then toothbrushing just becomes, you know, twice daily torture. So I’ve just kind of like pretended that I’m not supposed to be doing it now, and I’m just ignoring it. He doesn’t have bad breath is his breath, but I got to figure something out because.

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S1: Health. Yeah.

S3: What about a little toothpastes on your finger? Mm. Or even a washcloth? You could do the washing?

S2: Look at these moms. I feel so much better already.

S1: Get like an adult toothbrush and just let them chew on it about health suggests the sensation. Like, just let him go like a clean one and just let him, like, have it to mess with

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S3: teething toy

S1: mine. And when I handed it to them, would put them in their mouth. And then I could just sort of

S2: like because I

S1: just need you to get like a good brush. You know, this isn’t like a two minute.

S3: He just needs to knock the dirt off just a little little something on the top.

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S2: One of the websites said Like you should be, you should be flossing too. And I’m like, All right, fuck, you know, that’s crazy pants. This is great advice. Thank you. I’m going to try this tonight. Oh, my failure feels so much softer now.

S1: Good luck. Report back.

S3: Well, what about you, HBOElizabeth?

S1: I have like a success mixed with a failure. The success was like my trip to the Galapagos was amazing. It was amazing traveling with just Henry. He was in his complete element. I equate this to like if you took a kid who was really into a sport to like a professional sport, and yet that was what this was for him. Like he was around people doing, like legit marine biologists doing their work and sharing it with people, which is what he wants to do. And that was super cool and everybody just wanted to, like, share information with him and he is just like a sponge. So that was great. It is really hard to switch from parenting three in kind of chaos to parenting, just one that needs very little. Like Henry is pretty much perfectly capable. I perceived every situation as like I had three in danger. So a big part of the trip, which is why we didn’t take the little ones, was deepwater snorkeling where you essentially like jump off a zodiac and are snorkeling with all these amazing creatures. But there’s nothing near you. There’s current. You have to be a very strong swimmer. I made my nine year old hold hands with me. I made him constantly check in with me the first day until it just occurred to me that I’m being insane, this child swimmer. He’s enjoying things. There are two guides with us who are not going to let anything happen to him. And as long as he’s staying with the group and not hurting someone else, I need to just zip it. And once I did that, it was so much better. But it was so hard because I’m so used to trying to keep all the ducks in a row. You know, he was like diving under and I was like, Are you clearing your snorkel properly or are you doing all of this? He’s like, Dude, I know how to snorkel. So that was a little bit of hard, but I was on the cruise with a lovely couple who was traveling with their mom and they are listeners of the show. So that was fine. But his mom, who’s older, is like constantly telling him and his partner like doing mom things like, Oh, you know, come over here. Do you have your passport out like all this stuff? And that made me feel good. That like this is just ingrained. I can’t some of us, I can’t help. I’ll be doing it forever. You know, she’s like, needs his help getting on the zodiac, and she’s asking him, like, Do you have your life jacket buckled? So I just, you know, it’s ingrained and and then I got home and I’m dealing with. Jeff let the boys decorate for Christmas, the two little boys and him. And it was a wonderful activity. They had a great time. The house looks like Christmas threw up, and I’m trying to just thank you so much. You know, like how? Because it would be really detrimental. I think if I were like, This is all wrong. It is. I want to be clear, it is all wrong, but I think I have to leave it. And that’s a personal challenge.

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S3: You do have to leave it. You can add,

S1: yeah,

S3: and you can make mild adjustments. But that would be Heartbreak City if you change things around.

S1: I take a deep breath before I go downstairs, and I think they did it because they thought that would take something off my plate when I got back. And I need to, yes, sit there. But it’s

S3: fair. Yes, that is in place. That’s a good place. A good exercise. That’s a good

S1: exercise. I am just like, Oh, OK. But they are so proud of it.

S3: So here I am.

S2: And that’s what’s important.

S1: All right. Are we ready for our first listener question? Hmm. Yeah. All right. Well, it’s being read as always by the beloved Shasha Leonhard.

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S4: Dear mom and dad, my partner and I have two great boys, two and a half and four and a half. We’ve prioritized larger toys they can use together, and we have a rule that smaller things need to be contained in storage cubes around the house. These kids are not hurting for toys, I promise. We have some neighbors we are close to who have two kids, seven and four. My problem is that every time my kids come home from the neighbors, they have a new toy. And I’m not trying to be a snob here, but they’re crappy toys that the seven and four year old no longer want, and I don’t want my house filling up with them, either. We’re talking two or three things a week. It’s also setting my four and a half year old up to think that he basically gets new things whenever he wants. I tried a one in one out policy, but I couldn’t keep up. If this was initiated by the adults, I would have no problem speaking to them and asking them to stop, or at least slow down significantly. I personally had a similar conversation already with their mom, who used to regularly stop by with things we didn’t need or had even previously refused, such as a ready made dinner. I’d already politely declined. In this case, though, it’s the kids part of me feels like it would be wrong to squash their budding generosity. And if I’m honest, I’ve tried and it didn’t work. Having my kids turn them down is never going to happen either. Clearly, it runs in the family, but I’m drowning in crappy toys. What’s the move here?

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S3: You have to be firmer with the mother, you have to say, you know, we are so touched by your generosity, your family’s always so kind and so giving us something we really love and appreciate about you all. However, we are out of space. My little one cannot bring any more toys. And in fact, on their birthdays, you know, we’re limiting the amount of toys that they can get like we are out of space. Like, be very clear about that. And if you need to say it yourself directly to the children, you can, you know, like it’s going to be hard for them to be the bad guys here. So, you know, you can say, I’ll talk to your friends and say, Hey, you know, it’s so nice that you want to give my little ones your toys. You know, something that we do when we have toys that we don’t know anymore is that we donate them, you know, and you can identify a place in the community where you’ve given things before or where you would give things if you were making a donation and pass the name along to the mom and let her know that this would be, you know, a great place for handing down some of these things that your children have such a generous spirit and maybe you can make an activity of this and maybe we can all do it together, you know, we’ll gather. And so as you gather some toys, we’ll have a play date of going and getting things to kids who can use them. But you all have to just learn to refuse them and Zak a little closer to that age group. He may have some more insight about what to say and the painful conversation with your kids, but I would just say, be firm. You know that you are fortunate to have so many toys and that there are kids that do not have toys, and it wouldn’t be fair for you to have a room full of toys that you cannot reasonably play with. When there are kids who do not have toys at all. You know, and so instead of thinking about getting something every time you go to your friend’s house, you should be thinking about things that you can be giving away, too.

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S2: That totally resonates with me. And you’re right, I am. I’m right in the sweet spot of this right now with our four year old. It’s it’s mid Hanukkah right now where they think that they’re going to be getting presents every night and just doesn’t exercise. Like we got her a couple of things. Her aunts and uncles and grandparents got her some stuff. And just as an exercise, I was just talking about this with my wife. We’re not giving her something tonight because she needs to know that she’s not entitled to any gift. You know, we practice being thankful for what she does have, but it’s really hard that initial conversation of, No, you can’t have this or no, you’re not getting this because it’s so sad to see our kids sad. And that is something that makes them sad, but it’s temporary. And I did this also with TV the other day, like my daughter asked if she could watch TV and it wasn’t the prescribed time, and I just said no. And like, she really wanted to, and she kept asking and I was like, No. And she heard me like she. She’s starting to understand the know. And that takes that’s that’s some real development there. And I don’t think that the two and a half year old from our letter writer is going to quite get that. But if they see their older sibling, you know, taking this with grace, maybe maybe they’ll follow in their footsteps. But man, there is so much crap that ends up in our house and it’s so interesting, like just watching my daughter. She’s so excited to get the gift. And then, I mean, you all you know, that’s like five minutes later. Like you say, let her edit. They’re not, they’re not even playing with it. So I think it’s just probably a conversation we’re going to be having with our kids over and over and over for, you know, a dozen years or more. And it’s just going to take that persistence. And I really appreciate Jamilah what you were saying about, you know, acknowledging how generous these these friends are being like, it’s really great. Thank you so much. But no, it’s like, Thank you. But no, it’s kind of a two part, you know, a two part process here. Thank you. But no. And you know, I think the earlier we start enforcing these boundaries with our kids, whether it’s about gifts or TV or anything like it’s going to prepare them for for the brutal world where they will not always be or even often be getting what they want. So short term pain is going to be a long term maturity.

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S1: I think you guys like your advice is spot on. I am really interested with this idea that she feels the responsibility to not squash the budding generosity of her neighbor. Yeah, like of these children, because to me, she has like taken on this idea that like, if we never say no, then they cannot be generous. And I Jamilah. I think your advice, which Zak just highlighted to say to acknowledge the generosity but pass on the items is so important and it’s important for them to learn to. I just think. About like so often we are offering things to people because it’s hard to get rid of something that we once loved or that we used and see it go to the trash like somehow devalues that. I mean, think about when you give away baby stuff, right? Like, you’re like, my friend would just take this outfit. Then it’s like, I’ve guilt free. You know, someone else is going to use it. They need it. I guess I feel like letter writer. You don’t have to take on that responsibility. You can acknowledge the generosity and set the boundary not only with your kids, but with these neighbors too. Because I think part of being a good giver or being generous is giving to people who need it and not just passing your physical baggage on to someone else. So having the conversation with the mom or even with the kids when they’re over to just say, we are so thankful that you offer these things to us, but like Jamilah said, we don’t need this. And here are some ways that you can give it to people who need it. I was thinking that if all of this is like too much having this kind of confrontation, that I can be a lot for some because it can be a lot to maybe say to these neighbors in preparation for the holiday we are cleaning out, you know, our toys that are still in good shape, but we don’t play with and we are going to bring them to x Can. Would you like to do the same and we’d love to take it for you? That’s the gram so that you are doing this, you know, generous. Nice thing. You’re cleaning out your clutter, you’re also cleaning out their clutter. I also want to tell you that if they gave your kids something and your kids brought it home and all that’s been arranged, it’s yours. Now you can throw it out or donate it or do whatever. You do not have to keep it just because someone gave it to you. And if the situation is that they cannot get rid of things except to hand them to someone and you cannot handle the confrontation, all of that is fine. It is OK to just have a box and clean it out every move. Every year before Christmas. I clean out all of those little toys that we just they don’t need to have in our tiny cars. All of that they make great. I’m going to I haven’t talked about geo cashing in a long time. They make great things for geo caches. This is something else that you could suggest to her just putting them in a bag. There are definitely geo caches near you, and these are perfect little toys to leave in there or to go find a deal cache on the little app. It’ll say, like there’s nothing in there. We sometimes find those and go put a whole bunch of things in that geo cache so that other people that come by can take one of those little trinkets. So I I think there are lots of ways in which you can help have this, this conversation. Your kids are much younger than their kids also. So I think it’s OK to have a conversation with their parents or their kids, like the seven year old should totally be able to understand. Like, we just don’t really want our kids bringing home toys from other places, and the parents should definitely be able to understand. We don’t want to set the expectation that every time you go play at someone’s house, that you have to leave with some kind of gift. Right. So I think there’s a lot of ways to approach this, but I I just read this letter and feel like. The letter writer is is there, but feels like, oh, I have this responsibility to make sure that they’re so generous that I don’t want to squish that, and I just feel like that’s not your responsibility. And also, that’s not really what you’re teaching. You’re teaching them, go ahead and give their stuff away all the time. You know, I think there’s a way to set that boundary because it’s clearly making you nuts. So silly it’s OK to say no.

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S2: I have two quick final thoughts here. I think the thing to continue stressing is like. The thing that’s great about our friends is our friends and not the things that they give us, it’s like we forget the gift is this friendship. You know, the stuff is a byproduct, but like hanging out is that is the gift. That’s why we are in relationship with these people. We like hanging out with them. The stuff doesn’t matter. We like them. Stuff doesn’t matter, I think. I mean, I don’t know if that’s what I’m trying to just keep saying that to my daughter. I don’t know if it if it works. And the next thing is a way to tell your neighbor about this is you could you could sing them Eminem’s cleaning out my closet. You could do a cover version of it. I’m sorry, neighbor. I never meant to hurt you. I never meant to make you cry. But tonight we’re cleaning it out of a closet.

S3: Very destroyed of you.

S2: Yeah, I had to do that for my friend Marshall.

S1: Well, thank you so much for writing it. And we we truly wish you good luck in this season of things coming into your house that you are able to to stop the flow from the neighbors. Everyone else. If you want to share your parenting dilemma with us, you can email us at mom and Dad at Slate.com. With that resolved, we’re moving on to our second listener question. Take it away, Sasha.

S4: Hi, mom and dad. I’ve been a longtime listener and my relationship and parenting has benefited from all your awesome advice throughout the years. Here’s our conundrum Our soon to be four year old is set to be undergoing surgery in a few months to remove her tonsils and adenoids. When I last tried to prepare her for a cavity procedure at the dentist, let’s just say the preparation, including the sound and vibration of an electric toothbrush, scared her, and she’s since banish these toothbrushes. How much would you try to explain why we need to go to the hospital? Likely spending the night and then recovering at home afterwards? Can Daniel Tiger help us out with this one. In any event, how much bribing do you think we should do? Thanks so much. From snoring, dad has no clue.

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S1: You guys, this is going to be me. Henry has his tonsillectomy scheduled and I haven’t told him it’s it’s coming up in December and I just have said nothing. So I may not be much help with the advice, but I’m dying to know what I’m supposed to do.

S3: Well, first of all, you should be commended for going through with the procedure. I needed this done when I was a kid and my mom was too afraid to let me go under anesthesia. And so I still have my tassels. I still have. I had no and got strep throat like once a year for many years. Getting it for a bit. Then I got it in college like every time I had like, it was just the worse. So yes, it’s great that you’re taking care that you and letter writer. I would say, you know, the great advantage between this procedure and an electric toothbrush is that your kids are going to be asleep. Yeah. You know, and so bribing big time bribing ice cream, all of it, you know, like this should be a cozy recovery period and a cozy period going into the surgery. Everything you can do to make your little one feel comfortable special to them. A special pillow, roll out the red carpet, make some brownies, you know, favorite meal up and so or whatever last meal before you have to stop eating should be a special meal, you know. So if that’s breakfast, you know, go to Denny’s or something, you know, do it up, you know, let your little one know that she’s got something going on inside of her that’s making her get sick and she’s gonna hate feeling sick. Don’t you hate it when you get those colds or those infections where we have to go to the doctor and you have to take the antibiotics? Because if we’re at the point in which you’re getting a tonsillectomy and you’re adenoids removed, I’m imagining that you have been dealing with these infections for a while. And so she’s aware that there’s something. You know what I mean? Or she’s aware that she’s been sick, right? And so now you can talk to her about the cause of that. I know that, you know, may sound a little scary the idea of going to the hospital and having a procedure. But the good thing is you’ll be asleep the entire time, so they’ll give you some medicine. And while you’re asleep, they’ll take care of it. And this is a procedure that’s done every day, many times a day, usually on children, almost exclusively on children. You’ll feel fine. You know, when you come out of it, you’ll have to eat soft foods and drink liquids for a few days. So soup and sherbet and ice cream and all that good stuff, and you’re going to feel so much better and you’re not going to have these infections anymore. And that is exciting, and we’re not going to have to take that medicine and you’re not going to have to miss activities and you’re not going to have to not be able to see grandma. You’re going to feel better when this is done. You know, I think with that information, this is. Probably one of the less scary things that a little one can do in a hospital.

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S2: This is good advice, and I also think letter writer, you asked if Daniel Tiger can help out with this one? Yes, there specifically a Daniel Tiger episode about going to the doctor and more. So Doc McStuffins, if you don’t know Doc McStuffins, this would be a great assist for you. Doc McStuffins is a child who is a doctor to all of her stuffed animals, and I think what I’ve found to help my four year old is when she is essentially deputized to, you know, be the doctor. If she’s going to go to the doctor, then she’s going to become the doctor and she has to take care of her stuffed animal. When we go to get a COVID test, she has to be brave for her, her brother. And so it’s like, OK, well, you’re going to get the surgery, but so is your favorite stuffed animal and you have to you have to prepare your stuffed animal. And so your daughter is now modeling, you know, kind of courageous behavior. And I think that kind of the more you talk about how interesting and cool it is to, you know, be a be a doctor and to, you know, go and get there’s really cool tools that they’re going to be using and they’re going to be in your mouth and it’s going to be cool and you’re not even going to feel it. Like, I think the more you you stress that, the better it’ll be. And I got my tonsils out when I was 11, but it’s it’s one of like one of my fondest memories from childhood because my mom, she slept in my room. We had slumber party every night. She bought me a clapper. You know, you you. You clap twice and the lights turn on and off in case I needed anything. We watch movies all week. This is the first time I saw the movie. That thing you do. We got Chinese food like a couple times. And yeah, it’s kind of similar to the travel thing. Like, throw away any rules you have about screen time desserts. It’s just like, we’re going to be on vacation after after the surgery. You, we are going to watch whatever you want. You’re going to eat what you want. And I mean that that’s going to get you pretty far. I think I’m

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S1: here to take a note Zak or sleep in the room or order whatever food.

S2: Yeah. And also, I wouldn’t tell them so far before the surgery. You don’t need to give them a month, heads up, give them a couple of days. And I mean, it’s like, be casual when you’re bringing it up. Don’t be like, I have to tell you something, be like. So like, we’re going to do this, this thing. And you know, it’s going to kind of be fun and it might be uncomfortable, but it’s going to be fun. And, you know, couple couple of days heads up, I think is all is all I would do.

S1: That’s what I really struggle with the like. Of course, my child is nine, but tell the like how far in advance because I know he needs some time to process. But if I give too much time, their imaginations run wild and there’s more time to come up with it. But I also don’t want to be like. Good morning.

S2: Yeah, yeah, Jay, we’re going to the hospital.

S1: Yeah, you know. Yeah. Three to five days. So we’ve certainly had Henry has had so many medical procedures, and the one thing I felt like the advice I could give on this because I’m still really struggling with, like how to prepare for such a big thing, but is to to walk through some of the details because nine times out of 10, what Henry freaks out about is not the procedure, but like, for example, during the MRI, I had really prepared him about the noise and about all the things that I guess I was nervous about. And the fatal flaw for that was the gown. Like the idea that he wouldn’t be in his own clothes, whereas like now that I know that that’s something he’s anxious about, I’m able to deal with that with the with the hospital, with the, you know, it’s like he’s happy to wear scrubs. He doesn’t like the feeling of no pants. They’re happy to let him wear scrub pants during this surgery because they can cut them off. You know, it’s like there are solutions to some of these problems. So the other thing is, if those problems arise on the day of be really honest, like I during the MRI, I was trying to get him just to calm down. And honestly, I should have just asked like he needs. He wants to wear pants. What can we do? And your hospital probably also has a child life specialist, and in my experience, if they have one of these, try to contact them before or see if they’ll be on hand. They deal with exactly this all the time and can guide you through ways to deal with, you know, discussing all of this. A lot of times they have resources and books, but they I almost always ask for the child life specialists. Just with blood draws. Henry gets really nervous about. I think I’ve told the story of him, like screaming under the chair and me being like, Are we going to get this done? And it was at that point that I learned that there’s actually someone in most of these hospitals who is there to help with kids and explain things and be there so that you don’t have to just like, hold them down. I think the other thing in explaining all of this to your child is that. I. Try to make it very clear that we are doing this like that this is a decision that we, as the adults have made for him. And I understand that he is scared and that he might not like that decision, but that no matter how much we scream or what we do, this procedure needs to happen. And I think that’s important because it takes away that idea of like, well, if I hide or if I do this or if I do this, it won’t have to happen and we can deal with, like what we’re actually scared of. Like what are you actually scared of? Because it could be that they’re, you know, scared of the guy and it could be that they’re like, legitimately scared they might die. And those are two very different things to address. So I think making sure you kind of have an Oscar conversation don’t like, say, Are you scared? Are you scared? You’re going to die because your four year old that that may not even be on the table? I just also think you have to deal with your own fear outside of your child, too. That’s kind of where I am, is that I’m not even ready to have the conversation because although I know that he needs this and that’s been made very clear to me, I have to sort out all of my feelings and indecision about it before I go to him, or at least know what my, you know, issues are so that I’m not asking him to deal with those as well. So I think particularly for a four year old, like making sure that someone is in the room and that with them all the time, I know being alone is something else that a lot of times they’re scared of. It’s like less about the surgery, but like, are you going to leave me? And so than anyone else that you’re going to have, they’re supporting. Make sure that they’re not saying like, Oh, this is so scary. Like, you all want to be on the same page of like, we’re here for you. We’re going to be here. We’re here when you fall asleep, I’m going to be here when you wake up like, like making sure all of that is going to happen. I really feel for this letter writer because it’s it’s so hard. To like, prepare them, but also not scare them, you know, not scare them, because I think that’s kind of what happened to this with with the electric toothbrushes like you’re like, Hey, it’s kind of like this, and then they’re their imagination goes, Yeah, wild.

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S2: Yeah. And then once you get to the other side of it, you’ll see I think they’ll there’ll be so much braver for what comes next because they’ll realize, OK, like I did a hard thing and I’m fine now. And so, but yeah, I get it. Getting to that day is is the hard part.

S1: I did read this question to my kids and said, should they should this parent bribe their child? And they were all like, Yes, all the bribes? Yeah, definitely. The gathering research, I mean, I have like purchased a large Lego to work on with Henry for the days following the surgery because I know that’s something that he will be excited about. And I’m hoping that as I sell the surgery to him, it’s like, I’m actually just going to be like, See this Lego in exchange for your tonsils. Yeah. So good luck.

S2: You got this.

S1: We hope we helped, and we sincerely wish you good luck with the surgery. Please keep us updated. We’d love to know, did you bribe what worked? We want to know all the details. If you have a parenting conundrum, we would love to hear from you. Just do what this listener did and email us at. Mom and Dad at Slate.com. All right, so we are now on to recommendations. Zak What are you recommending this week?

S2: You’ve probably noticed listener that I talk a lot about cooking because my daughter super into it. I’m super into it and she has become a big fan of. Have you ever seen MenWithThePot on Instagram? Oh, OK. So their five minute videos of an anonymous guy cooking decadent, gorgeous meals in the forests of Poland? Well, there’s no dialogue. It’s just him chopping. It’s like building a fire, chopping vegetables and prepping food and then making it on an open fire and then taking a bite. Each video ends with him just taking the first bite of like the most marvelous meal you’ve seen. We watch it before bed. It’s like the last thing she and I do before we go to bed, and it’s inspiring if you’re feeling kind of in a rut with cooking. And it’s also just to me, it’s guilt free. It’s guilt free content for both of us and one of the rare things that we can actually both enjoy together. MenWithThePot.

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S1: Love it. I’m checking it out now.

S2: And yeah, it’s very relaxing. It’s great. Yeah, it’s kind of like ASMR. Yeah. Plus plus a food show.

S3: I love it. Sounds that except for it sounds like me with a fork in the refrigerator after watching.

S2: Oh, 100 percent. Yeah.

S1: What do you have for us to relive?

S3: You know, I love to recommend a show that’s been on for a while that everybody’s probably already watched, but I’m typically late to TV and streaming parties. I am recommending love life. I have only watched season one. I’ve had multiple people tell me to watch season two. It’s about a black dude and I forget the actor’s name, but he was on The Good Place, so he’s a familiar face and all my friends are super into his season. And so I just started from episode one, season one without thinking and like two minutes and I was annoyed. Ten minutes and I was like, Oh my God, this woman is me, I am this woman. It is so good. I could not believe how much I related to this character. It was overwhelming. It’s a show. It’s on HBO. Each season there’s only two seasons and it takes on a character and takes a look at these kind of definitive moments in their love life. So early heartbreaks, their relationship to perhaps one of their parents. And it’s just really well done. And yeah, I loved it. So love life season one. I can definitely recommend, and I’ll be back with thoughts on season two soon, because that’s my next binge.

S1: I just binge this on the plane. This is what I watch plane. So do you find Delta? It’s on Delta. Isn’t it good? It’s good because I was like, OK, Anna Kendrick, you know, same thing. The first episode, I was like, What is this? And then I was like, OK, I’m so in like, like, I was fast forwarding through slow part so that I could finish it on this flight. Yes, it’s so good.

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S3: It’s so good.

S1: It’s really charming, too. Like, I felt really like real. She dates. I’m like, you know, kind of crazy. But she also gets into a lot of like very normal dating situations and and has a hard time ending them. And I feel like that’s really relatable.

S3: It was there are just a lot of for me, like the way she wants to love and be loved, you know what I mean? Like, I just felt so and just kind of how easily she got excited by somebody she was interested in and how hurt. And you know, how like the guy she didn’t think was thinking of her is the one thinking of her. And, you know, like, yeah, it’s just really it’s quite a show.

S1: It’s so good. Oh my gosh. I love it so much.

S2: William Jackson Harper is the guy that stars in season two.

S1: Yes, I’m excited. I actually didn’t know there was a season two. So yeah, that’s where I’ll be. Yeah, no. Got to go up in season two.

S3: I’m definitely watching it very soon.

S1: Oh, my goodness. Well, I am recommending a free, printable reading advent calendar from everyday reading dot com and I will. The link will be in the show notes, but basically it’s a coloring page that you can print, and it has 24 reading prompts at the bottom for your favorite Christmas books. It’s things like color number one when you read with a cup of hot cocoa color number two when you read a book about Snowman, but it’s on a huge coloring sheet, I mean, you can print it. The blogger recommends printing it at 36 by 48, an engineering print, which is what I did. So I have like a huge print. It costs like $7 at the copy shop down the street, and it’s it’s so much fun, like the kids can color it, but it’s also kind of 24 short reading books we can read, you know, whatever’s appropriate, but we get to color it in and it’s just a fun holiday thing so printed it doesn’t have to be done. We don’t really ever do it like one per day. We just try to do all twenty four before Christmas. And if this particular print this is kind of like woodland creatures, she has two others from years past and you could print whichever one or print all three or whatever you want to do, but check out the free printable from everyday reading dot com.

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S2: Cool. Cool.

S3: All right,

S1: that’s it for our show. Before you go, please subscribe to the show and if you have a question for us, you can always email us at Mom and Dad at Slate.com or post it to the Slate Parenting Facebook Group. Just search for slate parenting. Also, if you’re looking for a way to reward yourself this holiday season, please consider signing up for Slate Plus Slate’s membership program. It’s only one dollar for the first month, and members will never hear another ad on our podcast or any other Slate podcast. You’ll also get free and total access to Slate’s website to sign up. Now go to Slate.com slash mom and dad plus again at Slate.com, slash mom and dad plus thanks mom and daughter fighting is produced by Rosemary Belson for Zak, Rosemary and Jamilah Lemieux. I’m Elizabeth Newcamp. Thanks for listening. Slate plus, listeners, let’s keep going. Happy Hanukkah. With so many religious and cultural celebrations this time of year, we wanted to talk about the ways we intentionally or unintentionally indoctrinate our kids. Zak do you want to kick us off?

S2: Yeah, sure. It’s the middle of Hanukkah. My kids are four and one, so Noah, my four year old, is just starting to be able to grasp, you know, the significance of the holidays. And it’s just making me reflect on like, you know, why I continue practicing Judaism. And you know what? What about the holidays are meaningful to me because, you know, my family impose their their own way of celebrating holidays growing up. My wife’s family did that, too. And like, this is one of the things about being a parent is like, you get to just like, curate your religiosity, right? You get to just like, figure out like, what do I care about and what do I want to pass down? Like, what are the actual stories I’m going to tell my kids, and what am I going to leave out? And if I’m leaving it out, like, what does that mean? And I don’t know. It’s just it’s a reflective time. It’s a time where she and I are figuring out how to get on the same page about, you know what? What our religious, our Jewish, you know, religious culture is going to be in the house coming from two different backgrounds. She grew up, you know, more much more observant than my family. And it’s like, you know, we’ve essentially for the 15 years we’ve been together, we’ve been essentially meeting in the middle. She’s become a little less religious. I’ve become a little more religious. But now it’s like the rubber is meeting the road and it’s like, who are the Rosen’s as as a family of Jews? And we let the menorah this week. We’re right in the middle of the holiday. And you know, Noah asked, like, why are we? Why are we lighting these candles? And it’s just making me realize also like, bro, you better have some answers because we because I am not just going to say like, because it’s what we do, you know? And so I’m kind of, you know, brushing up a little bit. Fortunately, my wife knows a lot. She’s she’s super learned and almost like went into Judaic Studies as a career. So I lean on her a lot during during holiday time. But I don’t know. It’s just like an interesting kind of intellectual, philosophical or religious proving ground when the holidays come around. It kind of is like, it’s a mirror. Who who do we want to be? Who are we and who do we want to be? How about you all?

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S1: We definitely do the Christmas thing. I mean, I grew up Catholic, as did Jeff. We met at Notre Dame. So like Catholic meeting central. But we have also, I think, tried to kind of find our way in Christianity and what we want for our family and what we want for the kids. And like you really thinking about like what role we play in teaching them things and of course, have come up with kind of the Newcamp Newcamp hybrid system. But one of the things this time of year that I feel like I didn’t get as a child that I want to give the kids is like a true appreciation for how many different ways we celebrate in this season. Like not just, hey, like, you know, the Germans do their Christmas markets, but like, Hey, Diwali happened and we have Hanukkah and this is what it means. Not just like, Hey, it’s a menorah, but trying to look at these celebrations. And so each year during Christmas for homeschool, we do a what I call a Christmas unit because it’s during our Christmas. But in fact, what we really look at is different countries and different celebrations. And I have been trying to grow my understanding of those different celebrations as well. And what books can we read, not just children’s books, but we do this read aloud, like can we do read aloud that reflects these different cultures that we’re hearing from a perspective, that’s not ours about these, but at the same time, we’re still doing like the Newcamp Christmas things. We have nativity use up all around. We talk a lot about the birth of Jesus, like all of that, but I I am trying to give them the context that I don’t think I ever had, like until I branched out and was was older and had the ability to meet other people and ask kind of questions about celebrations and about things going on. I sort of assumed that everyone celebrated the way we did. I knew I went to a predominantly Judeo Christian school, so I knew Hanukkah and I knew kind of the Christianity. But I literally I had maybe heard the word Kwanzaa or Diwali or something, but I didn’t really understand them. And so I do want to at least give the kids that understanding while at the same time kind of saying, like, here’s how your dad and I choose to celebrate this. And I am still torn about, like how I think a lot about like how will I feel if they chose something else or if they chose? To celebrate this, like, is that what I’m trying to instill or do I still want them to choose the thing I choose? I don’t know.

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S3: Yeah, I’m very guilty of kind of like letting the fact that I’m a single parent of one child. Just let me off the hook for really doing a lot of holiday, like putting a whole lot into it. You know, like there are things that are pretty standard, like pre-COVID. And, you know, for the first time since this year, we’re going to get to go visit my family, even though we’re not going until like 30 first. But we will have family time together. We always do Christmas. Santa matters in this household and desperate to find a Black Santa in L.A. I feel like this is the last year. We’re like Santa’s got a hold on her. But like, I’m not religious and spiritual. I wasn’t raised religious, and my family is very small. I have a lot of relatives that are participating in different religions, so we don’t celebrate holidays together. And so, yeah, like, I don’t know, like I’ve done a terrible job of it, like instilling Kwanzaa in her. I think I left the Kinara at my mom’s house, you know, and like, we don’t really actually light the candles like we may talk about the principles, the like. You know, my dad at least like he would if I didn’t see him every day during Kwanzaa, he would like call me every day and we would talk about the principal of the day. And that’s kind of like and then like on the last day, I would get a gift from him, you know, and like, that was kind of like Michael as the celebration growing up, you know, like, maybe we’d go to like a holiday thing or some holiday bazaar or somebody’s holiday party. But I don’t know, like there wasn’t a lot of holiday for me growing up. And like in Brooklyn, we were a part of this community where there was a lot of holiday, like there were parties like my sorority had a holiday party and, you know, name of school had a big holiday thing. And like not only is COVID kind of taking that away, but even if it had like, you know, we’re not really like, rooted in community here. So I think I’m just going to like, you know, buy some toys, keep it simple, and I stress myself out. Hope she doesn’t, you know, figure out the Santa is not real yet. I want to say that for the off season, you know,

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S1: I felt you’ve talked about, though, what a big deal Kwanzaa was for your dad. Like, you know,

S3: he cares a lot. I mean, I care, too, but it’s so you know what I mean. It’s still like it’s a big deal, but like it’s not like we really like. I mean, when I grew up, we did light the candle every day. You know what I mean, but it wasn’t like just me and my mom or like you would come by and do it with us. But I don’t know. I just I feel so small because I think like, you know, I blame the books about Kwanzaa, like all the children’s books, about Kwanzaa, about kids of like families like five kids and grandma and everybody’s there and they make it, you know, they really focus on the family element. And I get it because it’s kind of like the heart of Kwanzaa. But like when you have a small family, it’s very easy to feel left out of that. And so I know that’s something I’m trying to work on. You know, like what does it mean to be a small family like we can do this stuff? So are we going to do other stuff, you know? Right?

S1: I think that’s kind of the beauty of the holiday season, though, is I I feel like it’s OK to be like, this is what my family does. You know what I mean, as long as what your family does is not infringing on what other people celebrate. Do you think, too, that Naima feels like left out at all from the celebration or she’s just like, so excited?

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S3: No, like, I guess, a pretty good shake every holiday, you know, I’m curious to know if she feel if she like I did once the like, I wish I’d had a family or household. I could go to where there was a grandma and a bunch of cousins and all that. You know, I think that she misses the friends of family that we do have. And so the fact that like, we’re going to get to Chicago and see them, even though it’s after Christmas means a lot to her. But like, I can’t speak for her perspective as she gets two solid Christmases to household. And you know, like there’s multiple grandparents, everybody’s trying to like, make sure she enjoys the season. So I think she does.

S1: Zak, have you thought at all about like, what if your kids want to celebrate something different?

S2: Yeah. I don’t care. Like, you know, I heard I heard a long time ago someone say they raised their kids with the religion that they were brought up with just so they’ll have something to rebel against. You know, so it’s like as long as they’re, you know, honest, generous people, like if they’re interested in another religion, I’m I’m going to be fine with that. Yeah, I wish I had a more provocative, you know, answer for that. Like my my parents’ generation, you know, the kind of post-war generation that just after the Holocaust generation feels very differently. But that’s how it is for me, at least. I’m not too concerned about that. Hopefully, it won’t be a cult. But yeah, I’ll try to be supportive regardless. I’m supporting the most difficult. Yes, that’s where I draw the line.

S1: Well, awesome. Well, whatever you’re celebrating, we wish you the very best. And thanks for listening slate for us. We’ll talk to you next week.