S1: This ad free podcast is part of your slate plus membership. The following podcast contains explicit language.
S2: Welcome to mom and dad or Fight Flight Parenting podcast for Thursday, February 13th. Hey, I hate you, Ed.. I’m Dan Quoits. I’m a writer at Slate and the author of How to Be a Family.
S3: I’m also a dad, Lyra, who’s 14. Harper, who’s family. We live in Arlington, Virginia.
S4: Hi, I’m Jimmy Little, a new writer, cultural critic and contributors to Slaves Karen Leading Parenting column and mom to Naima, who is sick. And they didn’t like me in the studio. And we live in Los Angeles, California.
S3: Since my home is in the studio with you, Jamila. I wonder if she has anything to say to the person who’s responsible for her mother buying stakes.
S5: How much do you have anything to say to me now? Fair enough. I’m very sorry for traumatizing you in that way.
S2: As for big kids only. That is great advice. Naima, we’re so glad you’re here. And of course, we’re so glad that our third host is here. Please introduce yourself.
S6: Hi, I’m Isaac Butler.
S3: I am a writer and podcaster and all sorts of other things. And I live in Brooklyn, New York, where I am the father Iris, age five and a half. Welcome, Isaac. It’s a delight to have you, as always, to launch the charm offensive that you and I share today on the show.
S7: We have a question from a frustrated mother who muttered that she hated her kid when she thought she was alone. Does one offhand, I hate you undo 15000000. I love you’s. Plus, we have another question from a mom who is uncomfortable with baptizing her child.
S8: Plus, tribes and fails and recommendations. Let’s start with triumphs and fails, Jamila. Do you have a triumph or fail for us?
S9: This week I’m going to say once again, I have a fail. This three on an unmatched fail streak. I am on a failed streak. As I mentioned last week, I was on the road supporting the Elizabeth Warren campaign for president.
S10: I got back late Friday night and yesterday I had a super minor surgical procedure, nothing to write home about. But I am worn out and I feel like I’m coming down with something and I think I have pushed myself just a little bit too far. And so my failure is not adequately making time for rest, which is why I’m so good and burnt out today.
S9: And it just so happens that my little one is, I believe, legitimately sick. We have had some issues with them F0 illnesses, but today she truly does seem to not be feeling super great. And so now our two little burnouts in the podcast studio sitting next to each other looking sad.
S11: You guys are adorable, though. Come on. But yes, I recognize that you have had a very, very, very busy couple of weeks. Roulston up votes had HBC is down south for Elizabeth Warren. Maybe after we record today, you might like take an app or something. Is that something you ever do?
S9: I do take naps. I have to write my column first. Oh, right. Yes. Do that. Write your column. Yes. After I do my column, I’m definitely taking a nap and maybe not waking up again for a long time. But I bought a ticket to go see Slow Burn Live tonight, which is hosted by Jill Anderson and covers the deaths of the Notorious B.I.G. And 2Pac and their mini tour. And I thought I’d be a great team player and supporter of the brand and I’d go out and catch them in L.A. So I’m hoping to find some energy so I can go and do that.
S12: It’ll be a great show. Yeah. All right. Feel better. We will take it easy on you this week unless you say something totally wrong. In which case will tell you, Isaac. Do you have a triumph or fail for us this week?
S6: I’m going to go with triumph, Dan.. Love to hear it. At the end of winter break, as we were on our way to the airport to go back to New York, we were in a car accident. That’s not the triumph part, although was not my fault. We were taking a curve on the highway and the guy on the inside of the curves tire blew out and he slammed into us and pushed our car 180 degrees. It was terrible. Yeah, yeah. But no one was hurt. But you know how you’re like brain dilates and you have lots of thoughts in this very slow period of time. One of the thoughts I have was this car is about to hit the side of the vehicle that I am on and I dont have a will. That was that was one of the thoughts that I had. And so hum as some Slate listeners, you know, may know, I actually did this article last year for Slate.com about a writer who died without a will and all the problems this caused for keeping his work in print. And I just had this moment where I was like, why have I kept putting this off? And it’s obviously it’s because no one wants to think about death or, you know, like your family continuing after your God. You know, I didn’t want to really think about Iris and that whole thing, so I just didn’t, you know. And so it turns out and was thinking the same thing. And so we had this questionnaire from a lawyer sitting on our desk for like three years about like what you want your will to be like, who you want to take, your kid and everything. And we’ve actually done a good job of moving forward that process. It’s not all done yet. It takes a long time, but I’m just like, really happy. I feel so much calmer about all that stuff, having actually faced it than I did having it in a drawer as a low level background anxiety thing that was haunting me at all times.
S8: Yeah, that’s a great triumph if you died tomorrow. It would be an enormous hassle for me to figure out what to do about our co-authored books for sparing me that. Yes. Yes. You’re welcome. I assume that was also going through your mind as your car spun 100.
S13: I would guess that cars landed avails like the world only spins forward. What happens to my right eye spinning backwards? Exactly.
S12: That’s a great drive. I’m really glad that you are doing that. It can be nerve racking to face it, but you’re absolutely right that once you do face it, you’re like, oh, that wasn’t bad. And now I feel so much better than I did before.
S6: All the decisions you have to make are complicated, but if you’re just like make one decision at a time, instead of looking at the whole thing, it gets much easier, I think.
S9: Great. What about you, Dan? Do you have a triumph? If it is, wait. Aside from the fact that you tried to push Isaac off the road, you could write the book.
S12: You know, I have a triumph this week. My triumph is a technique that I have developed to deal with this problem that I have whenever Lyra and I drive somewhere, which is the Lyra demands to be in charge of the music, no matter what she wants to be in charge of the iPod or the phone or whatever is plugged into the stereo. And I also want to be in charge of the music. In fact, this is an area where she and I are very much alike at parties. I’m often the guy who’s like angling to take the box, but I’m willing to let Lyra have the radio for a little while while we’re driving somewhere, because I am a wonderful parent and human being. But also I want to extract a fee from her of some kind. I want there to be a cost to irrigating the music. I want her to love the music that she loves, which includes, you know, like I’d say and Carly Rae Jepsen, but also like very weird video game soundtracks that I don’t understand at all. You know, I also view it as my job to get her to at least occasionally listen to stuff that she wouldn’t otherwise here. So now on Sunday mornings, when I’m like driving her to the city for her writing class or whatever, and she demands the radio, I say, OK, you can have control of the music for this entire drive. But for the first song we listen to, you have to scroll through my iPod and pick an artist you’ve never listened to before. Maybe it’s someone that you’ve heard of, but you’ve never listened to their music. Or maybe it’s like a total mystery. And you have to choose a song by them. So that’s how over the last few months she has heard a little cure and a little salt and pepper and a little Metallica. It really paid off this weekend when she was like, Dad! Have I ever heard a song by Bong Water? And then we listened to Bong Water’s 1990 college radio hit the Power of Pussy. Hit it. So anyways, that was at a light. I was very proud of my daughter and I in that moment and I really am proud of like this compromise that I have made with her that still allows me to be self-righteous while allowing her to listen to the music she wants to listen to.
S9: It’s a great idea. My first that was, is there anything on there that you won’t let her here? But apparently not.
S8: There is not now at this point. Now. The answer is no. She’s 14. Like if Harper was in the car, there’s some stuff that I would blanch at a little.
S6: Yeah, but in general is one of the things you would blanch out of Harper’s in the car Bong Waters 1990 College radio hit power of high.
S8: Probably would I also have not actually played my beautiful, dark, twisted fantasy for either of them. And it may be awhile before I do that. But you know what? The flyer shows a sign from an I’d probably let it go. OK. Before we move on, let’s talk some business. Slate’s parenting newsletter is the best place to find out about all of our parenting content on Slate.com, including mom. Dad are fighting Jamelia columns on care and feeding and so much more. It’s also a personal e-mail for me every week telling you some sad, weird ass story from my parenting life. So sign up slate.com slash parenting email plus check us out on Facebook. You can just search for slate parenting on Facebook. We have a very fun community there. We moderate it so it doesn’t get out of control. People are very supportive. And if they’re not supportive, I. Barnham. All right. Let’s do the show proper. We have two listener questions this week. Let’s listen to the first one. It was sent in by e-mail and it is being read, as always, by the inimitable Shasha Leonhard.
S14: Dear mom and dad. Any advice on what to do after a parenting fail in which you said something horrible to your kid? I’m the mom of a 9 year old boy with ADHD, so parenting is extra. He needs a lot of prodding and micromanaging in the morning to simply get out of the house. Constant reminders to eat his breakfast, take his meds, get dressed, brush his teeth, and otherwise get ready while he’s distracted by Legos or some other small sparkly thing in the house this morning after a particularly frustrating series of distractions and reminders and with three minutes to go before we needed to be out the door, I said under my breath to the dog. Sometimes I really hate him. I thought he was in his room with the door closed, finally getting dressed. But it turns out the door was open, and he heard what I said. He rode to school sniffling, and I was on the verge of tears at drop off. I looked him in the eye and said I did not mean what I said. I explained I was frustrated and angry that he wasn’t being a good helper. I told him I loved him and that’s what I wanted him to carry with him the rest of the day instead of what I said in frustration. I also apologized and said I was sorry. What else? What do you do when you said something horrible to your kid? Does this one thing undo all the 15 million? I love you’s. I’ve said to him. Thanks.
S9: Oh, boy. Poor mom. We’ve all been there. Have each of you been there? Have you said something horrible? Is your child or in earshot of your child that you wish you hadn’t? I certainly have. Absolutely. NamUs father has.
S6: We all have or raised my voice when I, you know, like really shouldn’t have and scared her. Yeah. I mean everyone has some f screw up like that.
S9: Yeah. Mom, I don’t want you to feel too too bad about this because this is such a common parenting mistake. And yes, that was a particularly awful word choice. I think you handled it nicely in the moments saying that you’re frustrated or angry and you know that what you wanted him to carry with him today is that you love him. But I’m sure you understand that that wasn’t exactly what he was feeling in that moment. But I’d say one continue to reiterate just how much you love him. Maybe step up the praise and the compliments a little bit in the wake of something like this happening. But also, you know, it’s time for a meaningful conversation about those challenges that you’re facing in the morning says opposed to simply complaining each day that he’s taking too long to brush his teeth and hurry up and take your meds.
S10: You know, on Saturday or Sunday afternoon, talk about what those slow moving mornings mean for you and your spirit and how overwhelming and frustrating they can be.
S9: And, you know, perhaps there are some things that you can do together or separately to make them morning. Rose, have a little bit easier, right? So is it a matter of getting the meds to him the second that he wakes up so that he begins to move a little bit more competently? Is it that maybe you’re waking him up before the alarm to give him his meds and he gets to lay down a little bit longer so that by the time he does actually wake up, he’s he’s moving and grooving, as you’d like him to. And again, just really emphasizing that parents are human beings and that you are going to fall short and disappoint him just as he is going to fall short and disappoint you and that those words are not indicative of what you actually think and feel about him. That was your shortcoming, that you were stressed out and frustrated and you didn’t come out with a better way to handle it. And just as you’ve asked him to come up with good, healthy, productive ways to respond when he’s upset or stressed out, he’d have to continue to challenge yourself to do the same.
S8: Yeah, one thing I would pick up on from that is basically every kid on the face of the earth has a lot of experience already with feeling something really strongly and just blurting something out that they don’t truly mean. Both my kids during moments of high passion have yelled I hate you or shut up or something awful to me. I’m sure that you have already talked to him in a lot of different ways about being thoughtful about his speech and his actions. And he’s used to thinking about those things as things that happen to people because they’ve happened to him. Right. He knows what it’s like to say something hurtful in the moment that he didn’t truly believe and maybe even to feel bad about it later. And so this did really hurt in the moment for both of you. But I sincerely think that it’s going to be a lot easier for him to put it away than you maybe are worried it will be. It certainly is gonna be a lot easier for him to put it away than it would be for you if like another adult did this to you. For example, if you heard another adult say this under their voice, you would think about it forever. But I don’t think he’s gonna think about this forever. And that’s something to bear in mind. I think going into the future and as you think about how bad to feel about this. What do you think?
S6: Yeah, totally. The only additional thing I would add, because I do think like if you model a loving behavior for him, you know, if you’re showing him a lot of love, he’s going to figure out that you do indeed love him. You know, like kids pay a lot of attention to what we do, much more than what we say. So, you know, in the moment, it might take a while for him to realize that. But like, if you’re a loving parent, he’s going to realize that. I also just hope, although it’s never mentioned in the email, that like the mom in question has a good support structure in place for the, as she put it, extra parenting that she has to do. And it’s not talked about in PE. So I don’t know what it is. But, you know, another thing to investigate might just be like making sure that you feel like you are adequately supported and getting what you need emotionally to be like the parent that you want to be keeping in mind that you’re never going to be the parent you want to be all the time would just be the only additional thing that I would add.
S11: I think that’s good advice. The one thing in this question that honestly gave me a little bit of pause I’m curious, Jamila, what you think about this, given your advice to to have a specific conversation about mornings and how they’re going. It made me worried a little bit. You, in apologizing to him, talked about your frustration, specifically vis-a-vis his morning and his ADHD. I mean, you didn’t explicitly say you’re ADHD, but I’m sure that you’ve had enough conversations about this that he knew that was what you’re referring to, that when you say, you know, you aren’t being a good helper, that’s what you mean. The thing that worries me the most about this whole scenario is not that you muttered. Sometimes I hate this kid, but that at some point he probably realized that that feeling you had was a result of this thing that he, I bet, already feels is out of his control that he can’t help. And that frustrates him probably often as much as it frustrates you. And there’s nothing to do about that specifically. But I do think that if you do have that conversation that Jamila recommends that Saturday or Sunday conversation, which I think is a really good idea, you must be very thoughtful and cautious about the way you phrase your description of what happened in that moment. If it’s something that comes up and that you don’t tie your frustration explicitly to this thing, this being the you guys are working through together, and that may be when you talk about this. You don’t bring up the thing that you said. You don’t explicitly make the connection between this for him, potentially slightly traumatic event and this thing that he doesn’t really have control over.
S15: That would be why one additional piece of advice I agree with you that when that conversation takes place, that it can’t feel like it’s about, you know, because you have this thing that you didn’t cause that you’re not responsible for. That’s why you’re falling for it in the mornings. Is that.
S9: The mornings are challenging for us, not just they’re challenging for me as your mother, that, you know, we are having challenging warnings and we have to figure out a way to make them so different about the vets so that you go to school feeling good and ready to learn. And I feel, you know, comfortable and ready to start my day as well.
S8: All right. Listener, again, I think we all agree. You do not have to, like, beat yourself up over this. I feel extremely certain that you’re never gonna do that again in general. I bet that you will no longer say things to your dog that you would not want your kid to hear. Plus, did you think about how your dog would feel when your dog heard this? Your dog might feel terrible, but thank you very much for reaching out. Anyone, if you have a question for us, please email us mom or dad at slate.com. We are hungry for questions. We always need more. If you’ve thought for a while, I should email those guys my crazy parenting question. Please email it today because we want your questions. Let’s move to our second question, which will once again be read by the one and only Shasha Leonhard.
S14: Dear mom and dad. My husband and I are expecting our first child in June. We both have very awesome and kind families, but we are a bit worried about one potential in-law issue. My husband’s parents and sister are conservative Catholics. My husband left the church after college. His family knows this and prays for us. I was raised by two atheists who both grew up fundamentalist Christian. Having grown up in the American South as an atheist slash agnostic, I respond poorly to preachy behavior, though I know they only have good intentions. I find my in-laws passive aggressive hints about the eventual baptism of our child unbearable. I personally refuse to participate in a ceremony in which I was promised to raise my kid in a certain religion. I do not feel comfortable lying in that context. My husband agrees, but we have no idea how to navigate this topic with his family. I would appreciate your thoughts on that. And the broader topic of raising a child without religion amidst a family whose lives revolve around it. Thank you.
S6: I myself am an atheist with a devout father and a devout younger brother and devout in-laws. And so I have some experience with this. And the thing that I can say is I think most important is in a warm and loving and supportive way, because you seem to have a warm and loving and supportive relationship with these folks.
S16: Establishing some commonly agreed upon territory in which authentic communication can actually happen around this stuff will pay increasing dividends, you know, year to year. When Ann and I got together, I made it very clear very early on that, you know, if I had a kid, I did not want them raised religiously. That was very important to me that they could decide upon that themselves when they got older. But like, I just wasn’t going to participate in it. And, you know, as I got to know, Ann’s parents better were both devout Christians, one Catholic, one Presbyterian. And, you know, I’m this atheist Jew. There were like a lot of questions. And that actually because of all of those questions. It gradually evolved into a place where we could be like pretty frank with each other. And that became really helpful. And then Anne would come in and be the heavy when she needed to because they were her parents. So what I would say about this are a couple of things first. Well, like whatever you and your husband decide to do, they are his parents, and so even if it’s for your benefit, it’s probably helpful if he’s the heavy, although maybe you have a different relationship and it’s better if you are. But at least with us, that’s what what worked is the person whose parents it is is the heavy. But the other thing is that I just think if there’s a way to, you know, say that this is really about mutual support and respect. So just as in you support and respect their decision to raise their kids religiously, you need their support and respect to raise your kids secularly. It’s actually about those commonly held values. I think the conversation around like I kinda need you to quit it with the hints about baptism will go a lot better, but you have to have that agreed upon stuff first. You can’t just suddenly or least in my opinion, it’s much harder if you just suddenly jump in with like I hate it when you hint about this baptism thing as opposed to actually like discussing the shared territory that then allows you to have that conversation. I too get really triggered when people get kind of proselytizing in even a jokey or Hindi way. So like it took a lot of keeping myself calm in a lot of conversations to get there. But I think long term it was really worth.
S8: And you are going to have to keep yourself calm at the beginning of these conversations because it’s clear from your letter that this is important to them, but they don’t feel comfortable bringing it up to you in any way other than these passive aggressive hints. And I think Isaac is right on that you need to establish the sort of common ground to talk about this in a way that isn’t them dropping passive aggressive hints and you being driven insane by it and either saying something or biting your tongue or not saying something. And so the way to do that, I think, is to treat the next one of those passive aggressive hints as if it were an overt, explicit request to talk about this issue and seize that moment and do it do it in a kind and loving way, do it without revealing just how insane it drives you when they drop these passive aggressive hints. That’s not the purpose of this conversation. But the next time this happens, say something like, oh, I’m so glad you mentioned that, because I really wanted to talk to you about what we are thinking about for our plans for our child and how it’s probably different from the way that you raise your children and how I want us to be able to talk about these differences and feel comfortable chatting about them without either of us feeling hurt or upset. I think that would go a long way toward making this something where every conversation isn’t like nails on a chalkboard. It’s just a conversation.
S17: Yeah, I’m inclined to agree, as also is Celan, who was raised not to be religious and has the number of family members that are very, very religious. They have a number of Jehovah’s Witness relatives. Most of my mother’s nine siblings became witnesses as adults, as did her mothers. That completely changed the family dynamic. I’m a mom side in some very drastic ways. In some ways that certainly have been unpleasant to myself and other non Jehovah’s Witness members of the family. Meaning no Christmases, no birthday celebrations together, etc. And we’ve had to establish a level of distance between ourselves and those folks. Then, you know, we’re able to talk about certain things together and others we can’t discuss as it relates to how I choose to raise my child. Her dad and I are very clear that religion is something that you have the opportunity to explore as she sees fit and to choose for herself. And when folks ask about baptism or, you know, getting her involved in a church or have you found a church home yet? It’s just been a very clear, you know, this isn’t what we’re choosing to do. And that’s that. And I don’t think that the letter writers should feel any sense of apology or regret or hand-wringing about saying that, you know, these folks want their religious choices to be affirmed and supported by their community and their family members and others. And you deserve the exact same thing.
S8: Yeah. Being really clear is really important. And there are going to be time is maybe not with the parents, but maybe with other people in that family where if they just keep on knew about it, you are just going to have to deliver like a very clear we’re not planning to baptize our child. And then if they keep on it, you have to do the traditional. I always think of this as like the Nicole Cliff polite response, cause she uses the slot and Karen feting. Oh, I’m so sorry if I was unclear. We’re not interested in discussing it further. And so was you got to pull that out. And I hope you don’t have to. But don’t be afraid to pull that out if they’re not respecting your choices the way they expect you.
S17: As Jamila notes, to respect their choices, I think those of us who are not religious is clear and certain, as we may be as individuals about the choice that we’ve made in the face of somebody who is passionate about a religion. You can’t help but to feel a sense of perhaps guilt or inadequacy that their choice means more than yours. Right. And that you have. Be particularly Reverand or respectful of their decision, and you can certainly be respectful of it, but you have to stand on yours as being equally significant and you are not a blank slate waiting to be, you know, in indoctrinated or compelled by our religion. If you somepoint change it and do decide to embrace religion, there has to be on your own.
S15: You know, that’s not something that should happen because of pressure over your family members are wanting to silence their interrogation.
S8: Have either of you. Can I ask, had an experience with family members who are very religious telling you? Oh, yeah, no problem. I find with that. But then like getting into it with your kid in ways that you find frustrating or overreaching.
S13: I haven’t. I mean, in part because of how young Iris’s I think, and also because like Ann and I have just been very firm on this point for our entire relationship prior to having a kid, you know, which was, I mean, you know, nine years. And so I do think that that helped it, just like it never came up. You know what I mean? There was one point where Ann’s parents said something to her about hoping I found my way back to faith or something. This many years after we had already been talking about this for a very long time. And Aham was just like, it is never going to happen. Do not ever say that to him. Like, she just, like, flat out said that. So it doesn’t really happen in any kind of way with me in my family or her family. Like when we were talking about religion with religious members of our family, it’s more like a like getting to know you in a deeper way, both about my secularism or their lack thereof and less about, you know, trying to like get in with the kid and get them to go to church or or anything like that.
S8: You described faith as a lack of secularism. Jamelia, what about you? That has never happened with neither.
S17: No. No one has tried anything with Nyima. And to be fair. I can count the number of times she’s been around my Jehovah’s Witness relatives because they’re for the most part in Chicago. When I was a kid and there were times that my mom had to let me spend the night at one of her siblings houses because maybe she was sick or had something going on. I’d town. I was taken on field service, which means to go knock on doors and I went to the kingdom. Ha. Yeah. And I always came back with some reading material, but there was never any real intense attempt at converting me. Even though I do have one kind of funny Jehovah’s Witness story with Nyima, we were in a grocery store maybe four years ago. She was pretty young and there was a woman who was observing our interactions and she said, Well, your daughter’s really bright, is very smart girl for her age.
S10: I said, Oh, thank you. So yes. So yeah, there’s a website that has some really great books and games for a little girl her age. You know, you should share it with her. Okay, cool. What is it? So I take out my phone, you know, thinking she’s going to tell me about like one, two, three mouths that commerce, nothing. And she’s like, it’s j w dot org.
S18: And it took everything. And I mean, that says overreacts because I knew exactly who had it.
S15: But I appreciated her very passive attempt at converting us and that she didn’t push the issue too much. And I just thanked her and we kept it moving.
S19: I do think that that’s like the nightmare scenario for many parents who are in this exact position. Right, that you come to this agreement with the grandparents or the relatives and then behind your back, they are like, well, I’ll just talk to little Bobby about Jesus because he needs to know. And my hope letter writer is that your explicitly pegging your husband’s family as very Ossman Kydd means that you don’t think that that’s going to happen and that, as Isaac suggests, being clear from the very beginning about what the rules are will help avoid that.
S8: Or if it doesn’t, that you take jamiel’s path of whether by accident or design, not spending that much time with those relatives, certainly not with the child alone.
S19: But it is worth knowing that as secular parents with religious families go through the process of raising kids. That’s the thing that we hear a lot about happening. We see it and letters to care and feeding. We see it in questions to us. And so at some point, if you see that happening, that is the momentum. Like put the foot down and be exquisitely clear with whoever you’re talking to that that’s like not only not allowed, but that’s grounds for not seeing that kid anymore. And it is, as Jameela very clearly put it, like a matter of respect and phrasing it that way, as Isaac suggested, as common ground that you shares. I think a way to help make that clear. All right. Listen, hopefully this was helpful to you. If you want to toss a question our way, please email us once again at mom or dad at slate.com. And of course, check out all the great games for kids at 1, 2, 3 mouse dot com. All right. Let’s move on to recommendations. Isaac, what are you recommending this? OK, OK.
S16: So I struggled with this this week, I’m going to be totally honest, but I came up with something which is great that clicked here recently. We were listening to the original cast recording of company and Iris got super into it. We didn’t listen to all of the songs. There’s some songs and company that you don’t wanna listen to around the track. The power of pussy. That’s inappropriate. Yeah, exactly. But I realized in this moment that Sondheim has so permeated like the culture of the people who write everything that exists now that kids are actually like kind of acclimated to how his songs work. To give one example, there’s like a big musical number in the first season of My Little Pony that is just a like complete rip of putting it together. And so I just realized, like listening to another hundred people, Iris was just like, I like that this woman’s like singing quickly about public transportation, you know? And so we have recently been on a big Sondheim kick, particularly company in in our house. And so I have to say, if you think that it would be musically or rhythmically or lyrically, like sophisticated or off-putting to your kid, I mean, you have to choose the songs. Right. But they will actually be into it because they’re hearing kind of Sondheim parodies all the time via the shows they watch on Netflix. So my actual recommendation is you spend some time digging into the Sondheim back catalogue and put some of that on for your kid.
S8: That is a great recommendation. Love it. We, of course, have listened to into the woods a million times with their kids, but I don’t think I’ve listened to enough company with them, so maybe I should. All right, Jamila, what do you have for us?
S17: Super lovely book called Harlems Little Blackbird The Story of Lawrence Mills. True Story. Lawrence, who was born to parents who were both former slaves, left to sing from a very early age. And she had the wonderful opportunity to make her way to Harlem, where she had a singing career and was surrounded by the playwrights and poets and songwriters who would be the face of the Harlem Renaissance. And she also gets involved with the civil rights movement as a beautifully illustrated book. It won the KRG with an honor from the National Council for the Social Studies in 2013. And it’s by Christian Ravin Thin and Rene White. And it’s just a really, really lovely book that sounds really sweet.
S8: I will definitely check that out. I did not know that one. All right. My recommendation this week has enraged me, and I would like to share my rage with both of you and all our listeners. I’m recommending a Web site called Every Kid Outdoors Dot Gov. Oh, boy. Because it turns out that if you are a fourth grader, you can get into every national park. All BLM and all bureau reclamation land. All NOAA land. All Fish and Wildlife Service land. All national forests. All Army Corps of Engineers land. You can get into all of it absolutely free while you are in fourth grade. If you go to every kid outdoors dot gov. There’s little pass you can print out. And while all the dummies in your family will have to pay to get into the national park or whatever you fourth-grader get in free. And while this seems great, I’m sure to those of you out there who have fourth graders who have kids who will one day be in fourth grade, I have been forced to take my seventh and ninth graders out of their schools, return them to fourth grade, and make them take fourth grade all over again just so I can get this discount. So that has been a huge inconvenience to me. I’m very upset about it, but everyone else will probably enjoy every kid outdoors. Scott. That’s my recommendation. The things you do to save a buck. I know I’m very thrifty and they’ll thank me for one day.
S20: That’s our show. If you have a question you would like to ask us on the air. Please email us at mom and dad at Slate dot com. You can, of course, join us on Facebook. Just search for sleep parenting. We will sometimes take questions there and also put them on the show if you want us to consider a question. Definitely noted when you said Bobbit or Fighting is produced by Roseberry Bellson for Jamilah Lemieux and Isaac Butler. Hi, Dad.
S21: Hi, Slate Plus listeners. Welcome. And we’re so glad you’re here. Thank you so much for the support that you give to Slate. Distillates, podcasting and journalism and everything in between. We really appreciate your membership. I am joined by beloved former mom or dad or fighting co-host Alison Benedicts. Hi, Alison. Hello. Beloved, it’s so nice here, beloved, because you left us. I am the hated because I’m still here. I sell some odd because she did a thing that I never even imagined anyone would ever do with her kid yesterday, which is that she took a child to the Westminster Dog Show. Which child?
S22: Sam, who is 9. I took him because someone at work had tickets that they needed to unload and we had just cancelled his sleepover birthday party because he was sick. So it’s kind of sad. He was feeling. Bob, they hadn’t much of a birthday. So I thought, oh, here’s a fun thing I’ll surprise him with. I have no experience with the dog show. We don’t have a dog anymore. We’re not really dog people. I mean, we’ll get a dog eventually.
S21: But like, we’re not show dog people, right? Well, who? I mean, what a thing to say. Well, apparently a lot of people are. But I’m not sure about their normal. You’re not a show dog person offended. Show dog people. They are not Slate plus members. If you are a slate plus member, we’re sorry you’re not dog people. But does Sam love dogs the way kids love dogs?
S23: Sam loves pugs. He’s obsessed with pugs and really wanting to get a pug. But no, Sam just loves experiences like he loves to go do things with. I mean, who doesn’t love to go do things with their mom, I guess. Especially this one. But no, he just he loves he’s up for trying anything. So when I told him this, I like said, Sam, I have a surprise for you. I’m taking you to the city, to Madison Square Garden. And then I pause, and I kind of ruined it because he thought we were going to see, like one direction.
S22: Right. But he was like, oh, that’s fun. That’s cool. So it was the right kid to choose it. It was dead. Oh, he’s the only kid. I mean, if I had told my oldest Harry, he would have just refused to go. No, he was psyched about it.
S23: It was a very fun experience for the first hour long. And people are really serious. People are serious. It’s a really preppy crowd. And there’s a mix of real dog people who are like cheering for certain dogs or who have like clipboards where they’re filling out later today waiting to win. Yeah, exactly. And then they’re like people who are there on a lark, like behind us. It was just like drunk girls rises, drunk girls drinking like mojitos and like having a blast and screaming for the golden retriever Daniel, just like whooping it up. I didn’t turn around to like I wouldn’t have been surprised if they were lifting their shirts. But most of the crowd was pretty serious.
S22: And so Sam got a little itchy and antsy. And I just couldn’t we couldn’t keep like getting up and having to move through the rows and ask Miller to move to walk around. He really needed to walk around more because really what happens in his mind, he thought we were going to see like dogs do tricks. Right. But if you ever watch on TV, it’s just like trotting. Yeah. They don’t really do anything. It started at 7:00. We left it at morning. Never know. 7:00 at night. No, 7:00 at night. Madison Square Garden. The big revelation for me was at Madison Square Garden is really clean, very nice. A new area. We saw the sporting group. We saw another group that also ends with an eye, Angie, but again, working group. And then we left before whatever the third group was, and then it was going to be best in show. So we missed. Best in show, which would have been cool. It’s fun at the end of the groups when the judge comes out and just like points at the dogs, that carries it forward. Right. You have no idea. And then everyone cheers. And I mean, it’s it’s cute, but I’d say we won’t go back again.
S21: Okay. So you just said in passing a thing that was shocking to me, which is that eventually you’re going to get a dog again. Oh, yeah. Now, you are, of course, famous for hating dogs in the pages of Slate.com, in fact, wishing your dog was dead. Can you explain your huge turnaround on the issues of live dogs?
S23: Then my dog died and I fell.
S22: I believe what I wrote was, if you are going to have kids, don’t get a dog. We had this dog and then we had three kids. And I loved the dog so much. And then we had the kids and the dog became just another thing to deal with. And my love lessened. The dog was just too much to handle. And then as he got older, like really too much to handle.
S21: I mean, the exact same thing happened to us. I am extremely familiar with this. Yeah. He loved the dog more than anything. And at the instant our kids were wondering like, how am I got this fucking? Why do we have this dog?
S22: But now the kids are older and I think it’s like a really fun and time to have a family dog. We are about to start a renovation. So the plan is like when that’s done that we’re gonna dog the kids never took to the dog cause by the time the kids came around, the dog Bellville was senile. It was not fun. Yeah. So I think like to have you guys talked about this.
S21: Have you had a lot of kids really want to get a dog and we steadfastly say no forever. I mean, who knows? Maybe they’ll wear a stand some day. But we’ve we every time to say, no, we’re not getting a dog. There’s no way we’re getting it all.
S22: I feel a pull to getting one. Although I will say I still feel years later. I mean, Velva died five years ago. Maybe every time we come home from a late night, I’m like, thank God we don’t have to walk the dog.
S21: I still feel bad. Yep, yep, that’s exactly how I feel. So you have this experience. You go to Madison Square Garden and you do this thing with your child. Are there sort of other New York things that are like this that are like, oh, this thing happens in New York and I’ve never been to it, and maybe I should just take your kid to it and see, like what it is like, I think or something like me, maybe this would just be hell. But like the Statue of Liberty. Would you ever take your kid just for sure?
S23: We’ve never done that. But we talk about wanting to do that. Yeah. I mean, he didn’t have the best time, but like the afterwards, you know, as we’re leaving and going to catch our train, they got canceled and then we took anyway. I just felt good about like CMO.
S22: So fun to do something together that neither of us had ever done. Right. I love that. So whether it’s touristy things or, I don’t know, something non touristy too much. But like I’m very at this point, things that I used to roll my eyes at. I feel like our super fun to experience with your kids, right?
S21: Well, it’s fun for kids. I think also to know exactly as much about this thing as you do. Yeah, right. You know, the hall, you know, is the you watch best and show on time. They say, damn, that’s it. And so telling them about best dish out there. And I felt like the people around me were like a poseur only here because of best in show. Where’s Fred Willard. I’ve shown my kids best in show and that made them not want to go to the Westminster Dog Show. But they like the movie. But yeah, I like I think the kids really like being an experiences where their parents don’t know anything. Yeah. And they’re just like picking it up along with them like that is weird to them and good.
S22: I also think the one on one adventure is really special. I mean, it’s fun to do stuff as a family, but like I really enjoyed the one on one. Now though, of course, it’s not fair. So I have to like have a one on one with each of them. I’m scheduling and calendar izing.
S21: We do each parent does a one on one trip with one kid each year and then we flip. How do you do next year? Yes. Like a real trip. Yeah. So like when Harper and I did our like, road trip, she picked everything that was this year’s trip with Harper. And Allie is doing the thing with Lyra a little bit later. And then we’ll flip and then I’ll do something with her that’s more ambitious. We haven’t done anything like that. And I love it. That’s great. Yeah. All right. Thank you, Alison Benedict. Happy to have this minor mom or dad or fighting reunion. Please come back and join us on the actual show. Someday soon. Promise.
S22: I would love to. And congratulations to the winner of the Westminster Dog Show, a toy poodle who I didn’t see. Oh. Bye bye.