The Cross-Country Chaos Edition

Listen to this episode

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, June 10th, the Cross-Country Chaos Edition. I’m Elizabeth Newcamp. I write the Homeschooling Family Travel Blog. That statute, I’m the mom to three little Henry who’s nine, Oliver who’s seven, and Teddy who’s four. And we live in Colorado Springs, Colorado.


S2: I’m Dan Price. I’m a writer for Slate and the author of the book How to Be a Family. And the dad of Laura, who’s 16, and Harper, who’s 13. We live in Arlington, Virginia.

S3: I’m Jamilah Alemu, a writer contributor to Slate’s parent beating parents income and mom to Nyima, who is eight. And we live in Los Angeles, California.

S2: The gang’s all back together. Yeah, yeah.

S1: On today’s show, we’re advising a mom who loves her second son but is having a really hard time bonding with him. And on top of that, she feels guilty that things were wonderful with one child and now not so much. And then road trip. Y’all are hopping in the third row of the Newcamp minivan and traveling from Nevada, Colorado Springs. Don’t worry, we’re sparing you the highway Miles. And instead we’re going to give you some tips that will hopefully make your next trip go a little smoother.


S2: I’m ready. I’m buckled in. I got my water bottle. Mom, let me have the Nintendo switch.

S4: Yeah, just great. We’ll see which lucky kid you’ve got the Nintendo switch

S1: and on Slate. Plus, we’re marveling at the Texas mom who posed as her seventh grader for a whole day of school without getting caught almost. We’re going to kick off the show with some triumphs and fails. And Dan, I heard you have a good one for us.

S2: Oh, yeah. Classic Memorial Day weekend fail. So we spent our Memorial Day, as we have for the last few years at YMCA, Camp Manicotti and Hubertus, Wisconsin, the finest of all our nation’s YMCA camps. It’s the camp that I went to and I was a kid. In fact, my dad went there when he was a kid. Every year my family would go to family camp at Camp Anaconda over Memorial Day weekend. And so recently we have reinstated this tradition for our kids and for my brother’s kids, their cousins. Plus my mom and dad also come. It’s a big, exciting family event in which people who don’t see each other that often suddenly are jammed into a tiny cabin and are forced to bond or else this


S3: is a thing. Family camp.

S2: Yeah, yeah. Lots of camps do it. I mean, more even more camps started doing it this year because a lot of summer camps couldn’t even do their traditional summer camp thing. So they actually sort of continued family camp through the summer because it was it’s like a kind of natural podding. Right. But yeah, a lot of camps will often do this during the winter or on holiday weekends. All kinds of different families come in. Each family shares a cabin and then the whole camp sort of does community activities together. It’s meant for meeting new people and having fun, but also for bonding with the people you go with.


S3: I’m such a New York lonely boy. That sounds great. So, you know,

S2: I bet you could bring the doorman to you could come with a New York lonely boy. I can bring him like him. So this year, one of the highlights of family camp was the Family Olympics, in which for an afternoon the families went around the camp and did, you know, different sort of camp activities and got points for them. Toward the end of family Olympics, they opened up the lake for the boating part of the Olympics. So their rowboat races and canoe races with families trying to race to one end of the lake and then coming back. It’s all very fun, lots of splashing. Harper and I, we’re not interested in the robo races because I had reminded myself the day before when I went out in a rowboat with Harbor and then my tiny niece Phoebe, that I’m terrible at boating and and I just make the boat go in circles endlessly. But I have a lot of canoeing experience. Elizabeth has been with me while I’ve been canoe. It’s true. I can handle a canoe pretty well. Harper is also good at canoeing through like, all right, we’re going to save all our ammunition for the canoeing race. So we put on our life jackets, we got our canoe paddles and we just sat on the dock for like an hour while they did ten million robo races just watching them. But finally, it was time for the canoe races. We hauled our canoe over to the water. We dropped it in, we got in and sort of all the different boats assembled at the starting line. So it’s like us jostling with twelve other boats as everyone sort of incompetently tries to stay in one place. So we’re just supposed to row across the lake and back and the counselor said go and we all start trying to paddle, but everyone’s bumping against all the other canoes. Harper couldn’t even get her paddle in the water. And I’m like leaning over to, like, push a canoe away from us before I can run right into our side. And I lean really may be way too far over and splash the canoe completely tips over. We are thrown into the freezing cold lake. No, like ten feet from shore. The canoe is fully dumped, the panels are everywhere, Harper screams, the crowd gasps, I start laughing immediately, even though I’m I’m like freezing my ass off. And Harper is just like treading water with our life jacket on. Just absolutely, like, incandescently furious, just so angry at me once it becomes clear to her that I was the one who did that. The counselors help me get the canoe tipped back over and then we swim 10 feet off shore and harbor climbs on shore, just dripping wet and shivering. And I, like about a million adults, came up to her and said something like, what a great story this will be. And she would get madder every time. And she just kept going. It was my dad’s fault. It was my dad’s fault, which is absolutely true, is totally my fault. Anyway, I would have been so easy not to tip over like that’s literally what I’ve done every other single time I’ve ever canoed in my entire life. But not this time. This time I dumped my 13 year old into Lake Amy Belle in front of the world. She may never forgive me.


S1: Well, she ever get back in a canoe with you is the question.

S2: Maybe not in a racing scenario. Know now that it’s become evident that I can’t handle that kind of pressure

S3: where they’re boys.

S2: They’re there were it was full of boys.

S4: Some people have boys now.

S2: I mean, I would say I would say I would say that forty nine percent of the children there were boys.

S3: But I mean, like, boy, you know, there’s a difference thing like like where they’re boys, like where they were. But to her there were boys. Yeah. That’s where they

S2: go. I think I think I hope Harper does not read the transcript the way Laura does. But I do think maybe perhaps that was at the root of her upset edness was particular boys who were there who then talked to her afterwards,


S3: but they checked on her.

S2: Right. They got she got their attention.

S1: You know, nothing like bonding over your dad,

S2: talking, bonding over your dad sucking.

S3: Can’t stand it when my dad tries to drown me as well.

S1: That is an epic fail.

S2: Dan, thank you. Big. So this is you know, we been having an answer this afternoon. Are you still angry at me or do you do you now think it was funny? And she said, well, I’m not as upset as I was before, but I don’t think it was funny. So it’s not quite over yet. I don’t think

S3: she’s not she’s still a long time


S4: before this is funny for her.

S2: All right, who can top it Jamilah up?


S3: I don’t think I can stop it, but I do have a feel as well. I’m going to try to tell this as quickly as possible. So maybe four years at this point. I was on the first season of the old Jesus and Marro show on Aslan. One of the things that we talked about, Marohasy has children was Peppa Pig. And they asked, Do you let your kid watch a pig? Oh my God, she’s so rude. He was like, you know, my kids have been watching and like, they’re so rude and they show this clip is an example. And I’m supposed to have this reaction to it. Right. And so it’s the whistle clip, right. The famous like Peppa Pig wants to learn how to whistle. She can’t do it. So she calls one of her friends and she’s like, oh, I can’t figure out how to whistle on her friends, like, what’s whistling? And she’s like, oh, she put your lips together and you blow and you make this sound. And her friends like, oh, you mean like, you know, she just starts whistling and Pappa’s like, OK, and she immediately hangs up on her right in. This specific clip is often isolated as an example of like this character being unreasonably rude and maybe a bad influence on children. So they show me the clip and I’m like, OK, you know, like it was such a lost comedic moment because I’m obviously a terrible person because like, I was not moved by this character. This supposed be like a four year old kid, like just slamming down the phone. Our best friend, someone. I mean, that is the thing that happens, you know. And so fast forward to this past weekend. Nyima recently got a dog at her father’s house, which she’s very excited about. It’s going to be a big dog. I got a big dog person and my mother’s not a big dog person. I think my mother’s discomfort is even more palpable than my like, I’m pulling it together. Good. Even though I’m like, what the fuck up fucking pit bull around my baby, you know, even though I know like I know better. I know better. You know, I know about the racialize history of football. I know it. I get it intellectually, but I’m just still like big scary dog and my baby, you know. But I’ve said nothing. I met the dog. She was nice. I encourage her. You know, I’m glad she’s excited about the dog. Now she has a pet in both households. That’s great. And so her bestie got a like a Yorkie poo type dog. Like it might not have even been a Yorkie, but it might have been something even more ridiculous, like a dorky poo or something. And like it looks like an actual stuffed animal is the cutest dog I’ve ever seen in my life. My heart exploded into glitter when I saw it. And so NamUs face timing with her bestie and she’s got the dog. And Nyima starts getting a little jealous because she doesn’t have her dog at our house, like at one point, like she tried to go get candy. Girls, are you going to pretend to like be interested in the cat? Because come on, you know, like they have a relationship, but like she’s not cuddling the cat on the phone with her friend. Like, that’s not a thing. You know, like she was just doing this because she had her dog and she was so jealous. And so she, like, got frustrated and like says something or she’s like, maybe I to talk to you again. So you get, you know, until that dog is gone and I’m like and she hangs up on her. And so I have a talk with her. I’m like, hey, that’s not cool. And so Gaby calls back and she’s all confused. Like name is kind of in her feelings because she doesn’t have her dog. And that wasn’t nice. We talked about it. You know, I’m sorry that she hung up on you. She’s going to come back on, but just she’s feeling a little sad because she’s away from her dog. Right. And so and I’m not used to there being outbursts related to the two households thing, you know? So I know that deep down, at times it can just be I sure wish I could just have my mom, my dad, my dog all the time, you know, and I can and Gabby can always have her dog. And so she gets back all Gabby, she’s holding the dog and she says she’s drowning me with kisses. Like the least sensitive thing you can say to somebody who’s so upset about missing their dog, she just she just try to make guesses. As I hear that, I’m like, fuck. And my name was like, cool click. And like, it’s literally the Papic moment. It is exactly that in real life. And so now I have to pay the vendors for not taking the threat more seriously when I had time to get in front of this. I love Peppa Pig, Raise My Child, and now she’s a jackass. She’s not a jackass. But I feel


S1: like you’re selling yourself short. She could have it could have been so much worse. Right. Like hanging up. It’s kind of the best option at that point.

S3: I cannot stop laughing that she’s just like, choke, mommy, just choke, which is like some I don’t know, like probably not something she should be saying to me. But the more frustrated she gets, I she’s like, you’re the worst. You’re literally the worst. And I cannot stop laughing because it was so funny. And so then in the middle of this, my mom comes around, she’s like, hey, she’s still here. You all are supposed to be going to color me mine. What time do they close? I just want to make sure you don’t miss it. So like she keep the place close at 9:00, it’s like one o’clock in the afternoon. And so, like, Naam is just all of her feelings about the dog and everything. It’s all hilarious to me. And my mom’s like, you all should go.


S2: It’s exactly like me laughing at Harbor for me typing her out of a canal.

S3: Absolutely.

S2: Yeah. I agree with Elizabeth. I also think you’re selling yourself short. It’s not Peppa Pig who raise your kid to be like this. It’s you and more power to you.

S3: So after a couple of days, Nyima finally came around to my side and she is able to laugh. So hopefully Harper will be able to laugh because she said, Mommy, when I thought about it later, it was like Peppa Pig. And it was funny because I pulled out the Peppa Pig clip and talked to her about it and she was so not amused in the moment. She was just still pissed off at me for laughing. I was like, You don’t understand why it’s funny because you did things in the cartoon. I hope Harper joins us on this side of town where we could be amused by the awful things that our parents do.


S2: Give her a couple of years. I’m sure she will have no problem joining you there. All right, Elizabeth, what about you?

S1: I’m completing the trifecta of fails. The sleeping situation in our house is a complete mess, like it felt like in Florida. We had kind of reach some kind of homeostasis, like not everyone stayed in their bed every night. But for the most part, people slept where we put them. Then for like two months, we just like lived wherever. And, you know, Teddy has this, like, flower bed tent that kept him kind of contained. But otherwise we were like sharing beds and different kids were sleeping with different parents. And we’ve gotten back here. And instead of the three boys sharing a room, Henry has his own room. And then Oliver and Teddy are sharing a room by request. And neither of them end up in their beds at night, like they just come to our room over and over and over. So normally I would like get up, take them back to the room, tuck them in and like, do that over and over until they stop coming. But I’m just like, so tired that I have just been getting out of bed and sleeping in, like, one of the other beds in the house, including, like, unmade beds. I just like find somewhere else. Lay down. Jeff says in the morning. It’s like going to try to find where I’ve ended up sleeping. And the sleeping thing doesn’t bother me if everyone’s sleeping, but I’m not sleeping and I can’t really figure out how to. I mean, the way to fix the problem is like to stay up and, you know, but then I can’t do all the house stuff after they’re asleep because I’m so tired anyway. It’s just a mess. I’m like, there’s so much work to get them back to where we were.


S2: What a fun game you’re giving your family, though. Fine.

S4: I’m fine, Mom. I think I’d be

S2: really what I. She’ll be in a hotel. Yeah. Get a hotel in Miami

S4: and then they’ll really wonder where I am.

S2: But I’m sorry about that. That definitely sucks. It is true that with little kids, any kind of move can throw everything off for a while and be completely wild to month move of the sort that we’re about to hear about will definitely fuck everything up. Big time factor. It’ll all come back eventually, right? By the time they’re teenagers, they’ll be sleeping till noon.

S1: Oh gosh. I hope that who after two months doesn’t want to sleep and like their bed with their nice things now. Right. I want to sleep in the guest bed with whatever quilts or towel was on the floor.

S2: Could you tell them, you know, who probably really misses you at night as Henry.

S4: Yeah, this

S1: is I like this. I send them to Henry instead of to me. I’m OK with this plan.

S2: Yeah. All right. I’ll report back. Please report.

S3: Let us know how that works.

S1: Well, before we get on to our listener questions, we are going to take care of some business. Slate’s parenting newsletter is the best place to be notified about all our parenting content, including mom and dad are fighting care and feeding and much more. It’s a personal email from Dan every week. So sign up at Slate Dotcom. Parenting email, OK, on onto our first listener question. Let’s hear it.

S3: Sasha, do. Dear Mom and dad, what do you do when you are having a hard time fully bonding with your second child? My first was the light of our lives. He didn’t sleep, so neither did we. But we delighted so much in his every move that we had another as soon as my doctor said I could. He was born just shy of two years after the first. This kid is hard. I also had some not for the better job changes around the time of his birth that are hard to mentally unlink from that pregnancy and postpartum period. He was under two and covid hit. So while he is now nearing three, we just haven’t found our groove as a family. I look back at the time with one child as some of the very happiest of my life and feel so guilty that I can’t say the same. Now, I don’t know if I have negative feelings towards my kid because he is hard and life is hard and everything sucks. Or if maybe his sometimes tough behavior is a reaction to my feelings. I think I do a good job of hiding them, but what if I don’t? I love him, of course, but I just wish I could feel the same joy about him as I do my first help.


S2: OK, I think I know the very first suggestion that we are all going to give to this almost certainly depressed woman, right. Yet I don’t know that I’ve ever read a letter where the suggestion is more appropriate. Let’s just all say in unison, three to one gets here.

S4: Yes.

S2: All right. So we’ll talk a little bit more about what that might look like and how it might help you. But I’ll also start out by saying. I do want you, letter writer, to try to go a little bit more easy on yourself, you have two kids, five years, and that’s basically how on Earth and we’ve just gone through an insane pandemic on top of it. And so it really is OK for things to feel harder than they used to. It’s really OK for you to not always feel like parenting is a dream. It isn’t always a dream. So, like, that’s totally fine. And you don’t necessarily need to view that as any kind of mirror reflection of whether you’re doing a good job or not. I also want you to try to go easy on your kid. And this is sort of at the heart of your concerns, right? You don’t want your child to feel like he is the cause of your unhappiness due to some, you know, accidental slip or some way you’re treating him that you don’t quite see, but which he innately senses. I honestly think that’s a lot less likely than you believe it will be. But I also think it’s useful in general to rearrange the way you think about this stuff and stop thinking about your feelings as being a reflection of anything or as being caused by any particular thing. And instead think about, well, what are some things I can do concretely to help myself feel better? Which overall is going to improve how everyone in this family feels about everything. So Elizabeth and Jamilah, what do you guys think? What are some positive steps that she can take to sort of get out of the cycle, starting with therapy, but also thinking about other things?


S3: I’ll be brief, because I don’t have the experience of navigating this with a second child. So I do think Elizabeth may have more to offer here, Elizabeth, than Dan. But I will say coming from a difficult pregnancy and set of birth circumstances, I don’t know that I had the same challenges and bonding that you did, but there was that pallor over motherhood for me and a lot of ways early on that it was an intentional choice to try and be happy to try and enjoy that time period, to try and enjoy my baby. There were days where it came quite naturally and everything was sweetness and light and cute onesies and cuddles. And there were times where I just felt like the world had been just snatched from under my feet. And I was left holding a little person who needed me for literally everything. And I didn’t feel stable. And, you know, quite myself, I constantly reminded myself that that was the case. That was something that I was clear on that I that birth is traumatic, you know, under the best of circumstances, whether, you know, if you weren’t going through these challenges or not, birth is deeply traumatic to your body, to your mind, to your spirit. And I allowed myself what came of that. I allowed myself to be sad. I allowed myself to be confused. I allowed myself to process what came of it while also making the constant attempt at happiness and being at peace and being present and joyful about my circumstances because there was a baby, because there was this new person who needed me and deserved an opportunity at starting out life and the happiest of ways. And you and your youngest child and the rest of your family deserve that to.


S1: I think that’s such lovely advice and this question really resonated with me because there are times when parenting Henry, who has pandas and it feels like such a heavier burden and that the joy that I can get from the other kids doesn’t always come in the same way from him. And so we, in addition to seeking out therapy specifically for what I think may be continued postpartum depression or just some other form of depression, from all the change of circumstances, I think you can also specifically look for or talk to your therapist about kind of what my therapist calls extra parenting, which is this extra work that comes with hard children. And I think there are there are different children who are hard at different phases. I mean, all of mine have had times in which they are hard. Henry is kind of more consistently hard because of our diagnosis. But certainly, you know, I joke a lot about Teddy being a nightmare. We are in a really hard phase with him. But like Jamilah said, one of the things I’m encouraged to do is to really look for little things that bring me joy with the child that’s being the hard child. And I do that through gratitude journal where just every night I jot down one thing in a notebook. You could do this mentally, you could do it on your phone. What did Henry do today? That really filled me with joy and that helps me identify those moments throughout the day. And then I’m ending the day with those instead of ending the day with this, like, litany of weight that this child is is bringing to my life or feels like they’re bringing to my life. And I did notice that that made a huge difference because I’m going through the day looking for those moments. And then those moments are what show up more often. Right, because those are the ones I’m focusing on. So I think this idea of like being intentional with it, I also want to say lean on your friends that are there. I know this feels like something that is hard to say, but say it to your friends. That’s what they’re there for. And and you know which friends are going to say to you, you’re a great mom. And the bottom line of like that you have to achieve each day is is helping keep this child alive. And if you are doing that, you are a great mom and it doesn’t matter if all the other things are not as perfect, are not the same as they were with your first child. And you need other moms telling you, other dads telling you, you know, whatever friends are in that group, if you let them know that that this is hard and let them in, I think they will be able to be there for you. And so kind of gathering that army of your if you haven’t talked to your partner about this, you should definitely do that, because I think the more people that you can have on your team, the better.


S2: Yeah, motherhood and parenthood more broadly are is not. A time of untrammeled joy like that is not what the experience is, no matter what people on Instagram try to sell to you. And so it’s not a failure on your part to find it hard. It’s supposed to be hard and you’re going to find that over the course of your children’s childhood with you. Your feelings about how it is are going to change a million times at some point in the future. That older kid who was such a dream is going to be a fucking pain in your ass and they will be the hard child. And that won’t be a reflection of any failure of your parenting then any more than what’s happening now is a reflection of a failure of parenting. It’s just the way that parenting is. And I do think that therapy and the support of friends, as you say, Elizabeth, and being intentional about the way that you’re responding to this is Jamilah suggested, are ways to contextualize what you’re going through and help you understand that this is much bigger and less controllable than I think you view it as now. And that might seem daunting, but in fact, I have always found that when I have been able to bring that to mind, I’ve always found that very soothing, that any individual feeling I have on any individual day is very unlikely to have any real effect on my kids, positive or negative. I’m not going to ruin them basically, no matter what I do, as long as I fall within the basic guidelines of being a parent and loving them and keeping a close eye on them and keeping them fed and finding different ways to help people remind you of the of the context of your parenting, I think will really help you with this. But it’s really hard and we really feel for you. I hope that as we come out of the pandemic, everything brightens up for you a little bit. And I hope that you find some ways to speed that along.


S1: Writing in to us, this is a great first step, like it seems to me like, you know, that the right thing to do is to acknowledge that this is a problem and that you feel like it’s a problem. So you should give yourselves huge kudos for that. Go keep telling those people that you can. And I don’t even I’m not even going to call you my guilty mom, I think is not right. You’re a good mom. So good mom. We’re so happy that you wrote in and we wish you and your family the best. And please send us an update. Everyone else. If you have a question, you can email us at Mom and dad at Slate Dotcom or post it to the Slate Parenting Facebook group. Every three years, we move the whole family to a new location, moving with kids is difficult, but it’s also an opportunity to see new places and have an adventure along the way. It’s about these small moments we can enjoy as a family and the funny stories we can reminisce about.

S5: Hi, I’m Henry and I’m nine years old. Hi, I’m Oliver and I’m about to turn cymbidiums. Hi, I’m Teddy.

S1: Thankfully, those are my littles. The other voice you’ll hear besides my own is my husband, Jeff. He’s in the Air Force and most recently was stationed in Navarre, Florida, where he was flight testing new helicopters. He’s also the reason we picked up our family and relocated to Colorado Springs. Who here is excited about moving me, me, me? So everyone’s excited to be going to Colorado. That’s good. But what is happening at the house like right now, Henry? What are some of the things we’ve been doing?


S4: We’ve had to

S5: pack up all my Legos and pack up most of our toys, taking down decorations. It’s really hard moving because you don’t get to see your toys for a month or so.

S1: As much as we’ve moved, we’ve traveled even more and learned a lot along the way. We got a lot of questions about how to manage a big trip with kids. So I figured I just bring you along with us and hopefully you can glean a few tips and tricks that might work for your family. Moving always starts the same way, saying goodbye to our house and the places that we loved. This time it was all about saying goodbye

S4: to the beach. We move in two days and we’re taking a little break from the chaos of the house and the packing. It’s not real warm, but all three of the boys, well, they’re going to have all four of the boys are in the water. And we’re just trying to we’re trying to let them enjoy what we loved most about living here. Before we leave, we’ve brought a bunch of the sand toys that we’re not going to keep with us because the sea turtle center here has a donation bucket. So we’re going to go put those in the donation bucket after we have one last play with them so that hopefully other other people can can use them and have a nice time when they come to the beach.

S1: You have to head into a trip like this with a lot of flexibility because traveling with kids is a ton of work, you never know who’s going to wake up grumpy, what plans will go awry or even what the weather will be. So we try to follow the same daily pattern on our trip. Morning. Start with breakfast and playgrounds and always a coffee for me.


S6: We found that when you have kids, you wake up at 5:00 in the morning. Museums and other things aren’t open until nine or 10, so you need to fill the morning with some activity. Generally playgrounds are open sunrise to sunset, so a coffee for mom and a bagel, some pastries maybe, and head right to a playground. Just be wary that you don’t want to be noisy in a playground that’s in a residential area.

S1: We try to give each adult some alone time in the

S4: morning to good morning. We are in New Harmony, Indiana. Jeff put the kids in the car to drive to the big playground here. And I’m walking just to get a little space from the kids and get to see a couple of things around town. And then I’ll meet him there and then he’ll walk back and I’ll drive the car back.

S1: Once everyone is run their wiggles out, we head out to our first activity. Jeff and I typically make a list of activities in the area with the basic details and then choose a plan based on the weather and how the kids are doing. And on this trip, we had so much rain, there was only one day where we didn’t get caught in some sort of downpour.

S5: Right now we’re in Nashville. We are under a covered bridge right now, kind trains used to run over it. We just learned about that. We were playing on a playground and then just started sprinkling.

S1: Is this rain going to ruin our trip?

S5: No, it’s not.

S1: Some days the activities are very kid based, and we as parents enjoy watching the kids have fun.


S4: After hours of driving by the see Rock City barn signs and street like advertisements, we gave in and came to Rock City, which is like Americana tourism and it is awesome. The kids are. I love it. I love it. We’re working our way through and we’re about to enter into Fairyland Caverns, which is a cavern full of little dolls and toys and lights displaying classic fairy tales. So here we go into Fairyland Caverns.

S1: But other activities are definitely enjoyed by the entire family. One of the major things the US has to offer is the sheer outdoor beauty. So many of our stops revolve around hiking like everything else. Hiking with kids isn’t always peaceful.

S4: I need your meal.

S1: OK, but we give them all walkie talkies because

S5: Henry found

S4: that

S1: try to indulge in discovery of whatever catches their attention. I found a

S5: snail on a millipede.

S4: That is a huge millipede. Look at this guy. Look, I’m a snail going put back

S1: and always make sure to have our geo caching stuff with us to save the day. But when that doesn’t work, we’re also not above sheer bribery.

S4: So we’re making our way back up the six hundred stairs from the Falls and Cloudland Canyon and trying to keep the kids motivated so that Jeff and I don’t have to carry any of them. Oliver, who’s like, what do you think? Jeff Two hundred stares ahead of us. Oliver Oliver’s at least two hundred years ahead. But I’ve got Teddy is kind of going on and on about does he get Nintendo switch? If he walks off, he’s by himself. And I, I think somewhere near the bottom. We did promise him that he could play a Nintendo switch when we got back to the cabin until it dies. So that’s his motivation. Henry’s having some snack, some applesauce. It’s very funny. It’s like we’re walking through a cloud, so. All right. Well, that hundreds of more steps to go.


S1: There are so many cool places you can hike. The cooler it is, the more the kids are into it. Who wouldn’t love hiking into a cave

S4: or behind a waterfall

S1: or hiking to San Moneyless in the middle of Kansas. National parks are also great stops. They’re easily planned activities since they have well-marked trails and junior ranger badges. You’re never quite sure what the kids are getting out of it, though.

S4: Did you learn anything here today? Why did people ask Gascony? Why do people want us to go in there? People like to go in to see underground. Now, you’ve seen what’s underground here. I looked to go the camping cave, there’s cave underneath our cabin, so they re going, oh, we did, we walked in the cave that’s underneath our cabin.

S1: Whether or not the lessons stick, lunchtime comes faster than you think. And since no one likes hungry kids, we try to know our lunch plan for the day. But because even the best laid plans fail, we travel with peanut butter and bread and sometimes even end up at an outdoor bar.

S4: All right. We’re in Nashville. We’re trying to eat lunch.

S7: Yeah. And we walked all the way to this brewery. It’s got a nice beer garden with games for the kids.

S1: So Jeff and I are enjoying a beer. The kids are eating their hot dogs. So chaos averted. There are so many amazingly weird things to see, like the city museum in St. Louis, which is literally built into the former location of the International Shoe Company of Supreme

S4: Court fame or the city museum. And it is the most insane children’s museum that we have maybe ever been to. Jeff is somewhere with Teddy because we are in this climbing area called the caves, and there are just like parents looking for kids. It’s it it’s so crazy. I know one of the kids took like five stories spiral slide down, but I am holding on our bag so I can’t go on the slide. So now I’m just. Oh, there’s Jeff. Jeff up here. Where are the kids?


S1: I’m not sure who loved it more, Jeff or the Littles.

S4: Jeff has found his most favorite thing in the whole wide world, which is pinball. So why are the children are playing on this climbing structure? Jeff is here. Play some pinball. His day is made.

S1: We also try to find more local activities that we know we’ll all love, we do that by asking other families we meet at playgrounds or restaurants where to go, which is how we found the little train museum tucked into the back of Kansas City’s Union Station.

S4: So they’ve got four or five little platforms and volunteers are working on laying the track and getting the trains all set at the. And the kids, they’re just enjoying watching the trains go round and round

S1: this trip in particular, we had so many animal encounters, some of them planned and some of them unplanned, were walking in

S4: one of the labyrinths in New Harmony, Indiana. And it’s amazing. You have to find your way through. We used to do this in Europe, like everywhere in the Netherlands had these. So when we saw one here, we wanted to come stop and let the kids running around and just kind of enjoy us all. Finding our way out may turn out to be a little bit difficult. OK, I just saw a snake out. No, no, I just saw a snake.

S1: Yeah, the most memorable, though, was the cat we met in the parking lot.

S4: Why would I believe a cat? Because it’s not our cat. I want to calm down.

S8: Calm down. Yeah. Now. Now.

S4: Are you go,

S7: go, just lunged at daddy and he fell backwards in the back


S1: of no, we do not know that this cat’s name is

S4: Taco’s, that’s just what the boys named him.

S1: When we’re traveling, we often eat dinner rather early. That helps us avoid crowds and wait times. It also gives us some time in the evening to do activities without running into hungry. Kids are

S4: busting bedtimes. We’re headed to this cabin for the night. It’s kind of in the middle of nowhere and I have some groceries in the car, but we figured maybe we should just eat dinner at four and be able to, like, sit outside at a little

S1: brewery that had some

S4: hamburgers and hot dogs and chicken sandwiches, things like that. And just have a nice dinner, get everybody fed and then go to the cabin and not have to worry about like a real meal. Tonight, we can just have some snacks if people still get hungry.

S1: So I feel like that was a good win. We’ll see how that goes around bedtime.

S4: But, um, yeah. Enjoying our our 4:00 p.m. vacation

S1: dinner, we booked lodging that offers some sort of entertainment as well. It could be just a pool or a great park nearby or staying inside the national park on longer trips. We do two nights in the same place to slow down the pace of the trip and give everyone a chance to settle in. Once we get the kids down to bed, it’s work time. We pack pretty lightly and find places to stay where we can do laundry. One person gets kid duty and the other person gets laundry duty.

S4: Jeff took Henry to the pool for a little bit and now he is sitting down with the laundry and I’m getting all the kids to bed. He’s having, I guess, his quote unquote off time while getting all of our laundry done so that we can just have some fresh clothes. It’s been much colder than we expected, like we packed for all weather, but making sure we have enough, like, everybody’s jeans are just super dirty. So he’s just running everything through the wash.


S7: This is Jeff checking in. It’s now ten thirty and I’ve been watching and drying clothes for over four hours in New Harmony, Indiana. I mean, I’m not missing a lot of nightlife here, but I wish we hadn’t waited to do all four loads of laundry at the same time. It’s now become a late night, but I can’t leave because clothes are wet and this dryer is crappy.

S4: So he’s getting that done and has the computer and his phone just checking the roots. And I got everyone here brushed and settled and quiet down. And now I’m going to have my quote unquote like quiet off time, which is sort of important because we’re spending so much time like together as a unit that just making sure people have that that kind of off quiet time

S1: evenings are also when we get our act together for the next day. We were calling to check on our plans for tomorrow because we were planning on doing a cave tour where you take a boat into a cave, but due to the rain today is flooded.

S4: So we’re sort of back to square one and hoping that the weather holds.

S1: Not too many other people here, one other

S4: like family reunion, and they keep telling us to enjoy our kids while they’re young. So a good a good reminder as we’re kind of in the thick of it.

S1: The fifteen days honestly flew by, as you’ve probably deduced, we made it to Colorado Springs in one piece. No kids were left behind in Missouri, though it was a close call in the city museum. But we’re here and we got to greet our new house.


S4: We left it and the

S5: couches here are very good.

S1: Yeah, we brought those from

S5: our old house and also these new chairs we thought are also pretty good. It’s almost as big as my old hat

S1: and the best part will be doing it all again in three years.

S2: Who so as someone who did a bunch of moves all in one year and now plans to never move again until the day I die, I would like to congratulate the new camps on their insane achievement and on what they will need to do again three years from now. But you made it. You survived.

S1: You did. We did survive,

S4: verily, at some point. Yes. Yeah.

S2: So I have a couple of questions for you. OK, but you may also have questions for us. But I just want to know the one thing that really stuck out to me about this war apart from the road was you have that moment where you guys are getting solo time, right? Whoever’s lucky enough to get to do the laundry, that gets all the time. Was there any way for your kids to ever get solo time on this trip, or were they essentially like, you guys are a unit and there’s nothing you can do about it? How do kids get and need solo time in an experience like this?

S1: So that’s a great question. And in fact, like we have Oliver, who needs a lot of solo time. And what we found is that like when we would stop places, sometimes one of the kids would say they didn’t want to get out of the car. And if we were somewhere like, let’s say, a playground or somewhere where the like, quote unquote hike was very short and we could see the car, we would absolutely allow that because sometimes, like a kid does just need that space. But I also kind of relied on them at like a playground to go find a bench and sit. I mean, Henry just like brought his book a few times and just sat somewhere and and read. But we do try to sometimes, like, just take one kid to breakfast or like kind of try to separate them. So they’re not always just the three of them, but certainly two as they get older. That’s something we’ve been thinking a lot more about because we’ve just noticed, like Oliver cannot take all of us all day, all the time, like he starts to act out. So giving him these opportunities to opt out of activities where it would be safe for him to kind of stay in the car or sit away from everyone else and just trying to honor that and not take it as like, hey, you don’t want to do it. Like this is family fun. Everybody has to do family fun, you know,


S2: 14 straight days of family fun.

S3: Something that you talk about here and that you brought up a number of times in the past and it always just kind of blows my mind, is that like you’ve been able to survive all these moves and your kids have been able to survive all these moves because you can go and make friends with people in fast food restaurants and in parks.

S4: Yeah, that is crazy.

S3: Like, I need something like this is something I’ve struggled with since I was a child. And like, I want new friends and people, but they have to come talk to me. I’m not the person who’s going to go out and do that. Have you always been outgoing in that way, or is this something that you learn to do on behalf of the family?

S1: I mean, I feel like I was outgoing as a child, but not this outgoing, like I can remember changing to a new high school when all of my friends were going to a different high school, like from grade school, we’re going to the same high school. I was going somewhere different. And just sort of like having this pep talk in the car, like all these other people at this high school came from a different school together. I’m going to have to go and be the one that set like they already have friends. I don’t have friends. And I think I carry that mentality like on the road. It feels like nothing because I might never see this person again, like at a playground in Kansas City. Like, if this mom is like, you weirdo, I’m like, OK, well, no big deal. But I mean, the kids head swim team for the first time on Monday and I just like went to the playground. I had Teddy with me. I just like went to the playground, found the other mom standing by the fence and was like, is your kid one of the one swimming? Like, obviously your kid is one of the one swimming, otherwise you’re a creeper. Right. And I’m just like, mine are here. Like, let me vomit a short elevator pitch of my life on to you and see which one of you takes the bait. And I think I’ve just got a


S2: shark tank, but

S3: yeah. Yeah, you’re like your

S1: mom’s like here here are my selling points. I’m clearly going to just tell you a whole bunch of information. I have to

S2: invest

S1: in me. Do you want to invest in me? That is exactly what it’s like. Shark Tank for mom friends. But I think once you get rejected once or twice and you just realize like this is no big deal because there’s someone who throws you the line and speaks to you and then they become your friend. And that is well worth like the two people that passed you up. Right?

S2: I really like that. I have like four as a road trip tip in general, like there are other people who are out having similar experiences to you who have probably have all kinds of great ideas about stuff to do. Then you’re almost certainly going to meet people who know the places you’re in better than you do. And that is such like a low stress occasion to just get out there and be the weirdo who asked people what you should do in the next town. Like I’ve never done that. But that’s a great idea.

S1: I feel like you didn’t feel like you did that when you were moving from town. Well, that but that was

S2: I had to write a book. Yeah. I mean, like when like when we’ve been like doing road trips with the kids. Yeah. We’re just like a regular like vacation with the kids where we’re thinking of it as vacation. It we don’t usually just sort of we basically like stick together as our little unit. We don’t do a lot of friend making out in the world. And I think that that’s a good notion.


S3: You need your livelihood on the line. Right, exactly. Some different things

S2: I need to remind myself. It’s always material. Dan, you can always use it on the pocket, right?

S4: That’s right.

S2: It was very sweet. You guys taking one last visit to the beach. But was it I mean, no offense to Nevada, but was it hard to leave Nevada or were you like, you know,

S1: it’s hard to leave, like the routine and the things that we know for something that we don’t know. But I mean, we miss the beach was beautiful. It was great to go to. We loved that aspect of it. I think we knew there’d be different aspects here. And the pandemic really took I mean, what is usually hard to leave are the people like we make really good friends and thinking that we’re leaving them behind is is hard. But the pandemic kind of took that from us. Like we never really found our footing in Navarre. We had a couple of friends, but they’re also military. So they are on their way here. Are there at some point. So it feels less like you’re you’re leaving them. So, no, I mean, this has been the easiest moved in terms of the place that we were leaving. Never felt like home, like our house felt like home. And we loved being at the beach and like just being by the water. I really it but it was like as soon as we got here, it was like, oh, the mountains are also like beautiful. And I get that famously nice.

S2: The mountains.

S1: Yeah. Famously nice. Yeah.

S3: Like when I got to New York I stayed in the same neighborhood for thirteen years. My last move in New York, we moved three blocks on the same street. That is the way to move. And even that took a lot out of me. So I was telling someone yesterday, I’m here for until a graduates from high school, I can’t do this. I’m not doing this shit again. Like if I am doing it again is because something has changed in my life and all I have to do a snap of a finger and someone else is taking care of the actual arrangements. And I also might need to also pay somebody to deal with the emotional toll of picking up my life and leaving, because sometimes I just drive around for hours at night looking for something that feels like home and so. I’m so inspired by your ability to pick up and go, because I’ve been here since October twenty nineteen and I still look at pictures of Brooklyn like,


S1: oh, like you miss it. Yeah.

S2: We moved from New York to Washington when the kids were like two and four. And it was so horrible that six months after we moved and moved into our house, we were renting the guy we were renting it from. I was like oh my mortgage is about to bump it up and I need to sell. So you guys are going to need to move again. And we were like, we will just buy your house. We are buying the house because under no circumstances are we moving again. And Jamilah is right, like the emotional part of it was way harder for me than I ever expected it to be. Like I expected the logistics to be hard and just to be tired all the time. But like there’s a videotape somewhere that I took of Lyras last day at her little daycare in New York that I’ve never had the guts to watch ever since I took it, because I know any sound you might have otherwise been able to hear of. Lyra like doing her stuff with their little classmates is completely drowned out by me sobbing as I took the video, like I could not stop crying for like half an hour. And Holly’s parents were there watching, looking at me, very concerned. I just fucking lost it. And I never expected that to be an issue with me. So if we ever leave this house, Jesus Christ.

S1: Yeah, the moving is not for the faint of heart. And then Jeff and I are like when we get to the place, because we we if Jeffrey would tell you, like, what percentage of this time here is made up of us, you know, like getting settled, you know, he’s like, oh, this is one percent of our time here. We need to. But we try to just, like, get everything unpacked and up. But there are some things you miss around here. Yeah. Of knowing like that. I’m not making forever decisions. And I often wonder if, like, when our military stuff is over, which it may be soon, Jeff is approaching his twenty years. Like, will it be hard for me to make a long term decision? Because it’s nice that we make a lot of like like three years is is long, but it’s also kind of short. So yeah,


S2: it’s never forever what happens when everybody’s going to have to take a and a forever

S4: decision, right?

S1: That’s right. So if the person that takes my friendship is terrible, I’m just like, well, in three years super easy.

S4: Yeah.

S1: No Hangers-On well enough about moving. Let’s move on to recommendation’s. Dan, what do you have for us?

S2: I’m recommending a comic. This one’s for adults, not for kids. I mean, your kid, I guess, could read it, but they won’t like it. It’s by cartoonist and Keiler Roberts, who I really love. She does sort of daily autobiographical comics about her life as a mom and an artist. Her new book is called My Begging Charts. It came out and may I just find her maybe the most deadpan, funny writer I know about parenthood. She also writes about marriage and family life and her aging parents. She has me. She’s in the early stages of my message, so she writes about that. But really, mostly it’s just about being in a family. And I just cannot stop laughing when I read her comics because I feel like she has peer deep into my soul and the soul of the absurdity of parenting life. Not like in a funny like cursive expressions aren’t a thing you put in your wall about how parenting is wacky. But in a way, this is the most insane thing I’ve ever tried. And I can’t believe I’m in charge of a human life kind of way. I love it. She’s great. The book is called My Beggin Chart. Check it out.

S3: Jamilah, how about you? So in a past life, when that kind of ended strangely, like when I was in college, I used to be like the cool music person, like I was up on a few genres of music before other people were. I kept up hard on underground hip hop, particularly East Coast stuff, as well as a lot of soul RB and some electronic music. And so one of the bands that I was very proud to put my friends on to way back when in high school was a group called Morcheeba. Morcheeba is a pioneering band and the, I guess, pop electronic funk, RB hybrid sort of genre of music that is so completely influential on what we now hear in pop music, largely because of the influence of Kanye West and other folks that are super mainstream. That kind of started imitating those sounds anyway. Morcheeba is back. They have their first studio album in like a really long time. They put out one, maybe five or six years ago that I wasn’t aware of, but I knew of them from the early 2000s. Work and super dope is called Blackest Blue. If you’re not familiar with Morcheeba, if you’re a fan of maybe Portishead or the brand New Heavies, I think you’ll like them. And for a good number of you, I feel like this music may bring you back to a time of your life when you were also similarly cool. So I’d recommend Blackest Blue from Morcheeba.


S2: That’s a great recommendation. I had no idea they had a new album out. I saw Morcheeba at the Lilith Fair only two thousand No. Nineteen ninety nine I think. Great band and I’m delighted that the record

S3: I am jealous that you like. I was too young for Littlefair and the neo soul offshoot Black Lily and I thought at some point I would be old enough to attend those concerts and they both disappeared before I could get a wristband.

S2: It was great, but I’m glad they’re back.

S1: I’m recommending something. You can listen to this on these sleep headphones that I found I got for the trip because I like to listen to podcasts and stuff at night as I’m falling asleep. And when you’re all in one hotel room, that’s a problem. And I had lost like I had a really bad habit of sleeping with the air pads in, but then I would lose them or they hurt your ear. So I found these like headphones that are a headband and they have the little Bluetooth receptor on your forehead. I’m sure that is not a good thing, but they work great and I can listen to something while laying down and I can actually fall asleep, put them on and it holds my hair back. And if you had our kids had something called Kotsay phones when they were little for the airplane, that was just like a headband with the little earphones flat, your sound producing part of the earphone in there. And these are kind of the same thing and they’re just really great. But I loved it so much on the trip that I’ve been using them now here because they’re not what you know, they’re Bluetooth. So it’s great. You can just like, put it on, have your phone, nowhere near the bed, listen to your podcast or music or whatever as you fall asleep. I really love them, Ali.


S2: I just bought a pair of them in her latest quest to not hear me snoring.

S1: Yeah, well, good. I see. Added this is another bonus to this UCU. I can’t hear the children coming into the room. Right. Perfect. I’m hoping you

S2: can’t hear Hendry’s cries of dismay as they start coming.

S1: His kids go there. Yeah. I hope that everyone enjoys them as much as I do, that they bring everyone the type of peace they brought me on the road trip. Well, that’s it for our show one last time. If you have a question for us, email us at mom and dad at Slate dot com or post it to the Slate Parenting Facebook group. Just search for Slate parenting. Mom and Dad are fighting is produced by Rosemary Belson for Jamilah Lemieux and Dan Kois. I’m Elizabeth Newcamp. All right, let’s keep going. Slate plus listeners, so Dan, can you tell us a little bit about this mom who snuck into her daughter’s seventh grade class to test the school’s safety,

S2: American hero Casey Garcia. Has been arrested by Texas authorities after posing as her daughter at her child’s middle school for almost an entire day before someone figured out who the fuck she was. So Casey Garcia seems like a real character. She live blogged much of her experience in the school. She also live blogged her arrest. I’m sure she will soon liveblog her court date. For some reason, she decided that she absolutely needed to show the world that security at her child’s school was lax or that teachers aren’t paying enough attention or something. That’s not 100 percent clear what her goal was, but she dyed her hair. She put out a bunch of bronzer and she showed up at seventh grade at some middle school in Texas and went through the entire day wearing a mask in class. I think it’s one of those schools that’s doing like my kids. Schools are like half the kids are in half. The kids are at home. And she said none of the teachers noticed that she wasn’t her daughter. She said she just ate lunch in the cafeteria without anyone noticing. And then it wasn’t till the final class of the day when some teacher was finally like, you’re not Julee, that she got noticed. But also she told the entire world what was going on because she, like, put it on instar and bragged about it and blogged about it and then was shortly afterwards arrested for criminal trespass.


S1: So, Dan, when you sent us the article, I was like, wait, this is like from May. And so I Googled it. And in May, there was a woman who did this in Miami-Dade, which is why I had heard about it. She was twenty eight. She also said she was doing it for school safety, although I guess at the end of the day it was actually to promote her Instagram account. She didn’t go through nearly half the trouble. She just put on a mask and grabbed a skateboard and

S4: then handed out flyers, handed out

S2: a shirt that said a rock band. And she was like, How are you doing, fellow kids?

S1: OK. And then I went down like a rabbit hole of people who have done this. But the the like first one that I could find was like in twenty eight in Green Bay, Wisconsin, and she was a thirty three year old and she was a mother of two. She stole her own teen’s identity and like brought pompoms with her and tried to relive her to her teenage days. But she made it like a couple like, like more than a day.

S2: So it seems to me like it’s not an accident that these start roughly at the time that people who saw never been kissed, teenagers were of her child having age. Clearly, that’s where the idea comes from. It never

S1: been kissed. The the threat of her being arrested is never there. It’s always the threat that he might be arrested. That’s true. And it turns out, ladies, if you do this, you will be arrested.

S2: So do you guys think that probably what’s really going on is that she, like the Miami lady, was really just trying to, like, get more followers or like create buzz?


S1: She was like handing out things with her Instagram on it.

S3: Yeah. All right. This woman, do you think this woman had a more noble cause then? Yes, I will say this like you’re kind of cheating doing this during a time where there’s math, which I guess could be the point that, like, the masks are part of the safety concern, that you all have not figured out a way to solve for the fact that, like, literally anybody can walk in here as long as their child height, but. I don’t know. I loved math and this is so messy because it has so many implications for so many people, because it does beg the question like, how did you allow this person and her 30 year old forehead to be in this classroom all day? Because if the rest of her wasn’t giving it away, this was

S1: the last teacher knows something is wrong and does nothing until the end of class where she is like, could you please come see me? And then she that’s

S2: no, that’s totally the right move. Could you imagine how bad it would go if you tried to deal with it in the middle of class? It would be a zoo in that class. Kids would be screaming.

S4: But what if the wrong person is there? You just let them sit

S3: like this because that’s the day. Because I’m like, why are you here? I’m not assuming that you’re here to investigate me. I’m thinking you’re here for something more nefarious. So it is my job is literally like she might have been right. She might actually be a hero because even the


S2: seventh period, if she was going to do something, she would have done it.

S1: I do like that. She’s just like when she asked, like, well, you’re not, you know, whatever the daughter’s name is. And the mom’s like, no, I’m her mom. And then she’s just like the teachers.

S4: Like, Why? Because that’s what I want to do.

S2: That’s why it’s not surprising to me at all, honestly, that none of the teachers noticed. I think every teacher I know at this point has plenty of students whose faces they’ve rarely if ever seen the course of the school year because no one turns on their cameras when they’re at home and in school, everyone’s wearing masks. And if you’re the kid who happens to be sitting in the back and never talks, most in most school districts that are doing any kind of distancing, teachers can’t leave their desks. So it’s not like you’re like going around the class and getting to know people are getting up close to them. You could absolutely have gone this whole school year and never gotten within 15 feet of a student and have no idea what they look like and probably not even be able to see the lines on their forehead very well. And Jamilah, I’m sure she just Botox before she went, like, I’m sure she figured that out.

S3: She didn’t that I’m looking at the mug shot that’s on. You had one job.

S2: You had to take care of your

S3: forehead that says very easy, ten unit

S2: fix. But what I want to know is what I desperately want right now is I want an interview with her fellow students because they had to know.

S1: They had to know

S2: like this moment when she is like, well, I was just sitting in the cafeteria and no one said anything. Well, no one sat with you in the cafeteria lady, because they knew something insane was going man and they were not about to go anywhere near you like the kids definitely knew.

S3: And do the kids not have, like Tic-Tac? Isn’t this being like was the audience here like it’s her daughter participating? Is she just at home, like, you

S2: know, any kid who follows another kid’s parents social media?

S3: Absolutely not. But I wonder, what’s your daughter like this?

S1: Yeah, like a weird person who’s like, wouldn’t I feel like you would try to go figure out, like, oh, is that, you know, searching hashtags or something? I don’t know. I feel. And where

S3: are the tech stocks up her like where are the kids that are like Bro W.T. flicking

S4: her forehead.

S2: Her it’s I also wonder if the if the daughter was involved, like was there a big debate like I’m going to school today. No, no, I’ve got a test.

S3: Ah, you can’t do it today. Right. Because we’re going on a field trip. Do it tomorrow because I don’t want to be like also though she’s four ten and one hundred and five pounds. So like you’re not really and you’re wearing a mask so like you’re not proving something as much as perhaps they’re also illuminating what your daughter’s social station is in the school. Perhaps she’s somewhat shy and introverted. Maybe that’s why it was easy for an adult to just be her for the day because there’s some kids that couldn’t walk in the classroom and just be an entirely different person because the teacher and other kids are looking for this person to be loud and right. I have so many questions for the daughter. And will the daughter be like can you even punish Justin for participating in these shenanigans with the mother? Give her up? You know, like the do you just have to forgive her? Because clearly she doesn’t have I

S2: don’t think there’s any way that the student left a middle schooler can be punished for something this weird that their parent does. Right. I mean, unless you have, like, solid evidence that, like, the kid is like posting on Tic-Tac, that they’re like, I’m bronzing my mom. So she could go into school for me. Like, unless you have that, you absolutely have to be like, all right, next year, let’s just pretend none of this ever happened.

S3: What is this what is this absence say in her file

S2: that’s absent, replaced by parent? My parents think they have a special code for that.

S1: I will say this would never happen in a home school classroom, so.

S2: My take is that this basically happens every day at home, school, classroom,

S1: like Deftest shows up and I sit down, do Henry’s

S2: work right. And just like, fine. All right, listeners, we’d like to know your take on Casey Garcia. And what do you think she was really after? Does this actually make you worried about security in your school, or do you think that this is just another thing for that? Well, this is a weird ass school year, and next year everything’s going to be different. And let us never speak of this school year again. Drop us a line and let us know what you think. Respond in these late parenting Facebook group, or if you’re one of the kids from this school, from this middle school, call me on the telephone, call me all about it. We desperately want to know your words will be published on Slate Dotcom. OK, thank you so much, everyone, for being members of Slate. Plus, we treasure your membership as much as we treasure stories like this, making our day. What’s actually next week?