The Silent Treatment Edition
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 parenting podcast for Thursday, May 20th. The silent treatment addition. I’m Elizabeth New. Can’t I write the Home and Family Travel Blog? Dutch Dutch Goose. I’m the mom to three little Henry, nine Oliver, who recently turned seven, and Teddy, who’s four. And we are finally in Colorado Springs, although not in our house. I’m borrowing a friend’s house for today, but hopefully soon we will be settled into our own home.
S2: And Jamilah Lemieux, a writer contributor to Slate’s Care and Feeding Parenting column, and mom to Nyima, who is eight and in charge. And we are in Los Angeles, California.
S3: My name is Emily Flaca. I’m a cartoonist and writer and my daughter’s name is Augustine. She is eight going on 30 and we are in Brooklyn, New York.
S1: Emily, we’re so excited that you joined us today. Thanks for spending some time giving some parenting advice.
S3: Thank you so much for having me.
S2: And welcome back, Elizabeth. We missed you.
S1: Thank you. I missed you so much. You’re might have been my my constant. So I am so glad to see both of your smiling faces today and hear your wonderful voices. Well, we have some fun questions to answer today. We have a question about a dad whose temperament matches one of a moody teen to the point where he is completely unengaged in his own teen’s life. Then we’re advising a mom who really needs some space from her kid who will not play independently during quiet time and on Slate. Plus, we’re pulling out our parental crystal balls to predict the funny or perhaps a bit terrifying things that our kids will be up to in five years time. But first, we have triumphs and fails. Dumela. Why don’t you lead us off?
S2: OK, so my mother said to me, so could you go grab us lunch? And I was like, OK. And I go get lunch for my mother Naima, who are now my bosses and who ran me. My mother’s visiting for a month, so getting them lunch is basically what I do for many years. One of the most frustrating parts of the Starbucks experience was having your name misspelled on your cup. You go to Starbucks and your name is Emily and it’s spelled Sarah. So with my name being Djamila Jamilah Lemieux, I am used to having my name misspelled in many different ways and I’m also used to having it mispronounce. Once mobile ordering became the way that I was consuming basically 100 percent of my Starbucks orders. At least I could rely on my name being spelled correctly, even if the pronunciation was just going to be butchered. And it reminds me of the time in sixth grade that a teacher tried to embarrass me and called me Jemima while he was reading the roll. Right. Like he was just doing these kind of comical takes on people’s names. He was really mean. He also hit us. That’s terrible. Yeah. You know, and
S1: like I mean, the hitting is all so terrible, but the name thing is pretty
S2: mean and like it was a black school, so it wasn’t like and it was a black teacher. So it wasn’t like that could have been a way more traumatic for me because I perhaps I should have contextualize this. You know, he he was he was quite a character. But anyway, so hearing Djamila, just so I decided to change my name in the Starbucks app to Jay J.Y. so that I could always have it pronounced correctly, which it is, except for I have been going to Starbucks and standing around waiting for Jamila’s order. And that is why I was late to the show today, because I would have been back on time, but I was waiting for Jamila’s order. And this is like the third time in a week that this has happened. So that is my fail.
S1: You fix the system, but you failed to adapt to the fix.
S2: And what’s worse, I have had the same issue with Uber and Postmus. Like each time I can’t remember which version of my name I’ve used, but here we are.
S1: I can’t even spin this into a win. Not remembering your face. It’s a good one. All right, Emily, triumph or fail for us.
S3: So I have a triumph that I suppose if you look at it from another suspect perspective, could also be a fail.
S1: It’s our favorite kind.
S3: So just to set this up minimally, I had gotten a jar of Dulcy to let you because I was making a cake and I am also a pig. So I will just sit there and like, eat Dulci to let it with a spoon because it’s delicious. I had put it away and I got a text from my daughter. She does have her own phone, but she has an iPad that she does school work on. So she figured out texting and now it never stops. So I get this text from her that says, Mama, I am so, so, so, so, so, so sorry. But before I had my of the lecture, I also had a chocolate bar, but the bar also had oats and nuts. I am sorry, I just needed a taste of that sweet, sweet little cytology. And then she went on to say also I’m a dirty bird crying about you, crying and crying. So there’s a lot to unpack here. But mainly I count it as a win because she did something slightly naughty, but then told on herself like immediately. And she misspelled don’t say to let you into hilarious ways, but that’s you know, she’s eight. But I also count as a win because we’ve managed to plug Dirty Bird into her head as like our house insult like you all, you Dirty Bird. So she knows how to use Dirty Bird and she knows that she is a dirty word. So, yeah, I’m counting it as a win. But you could also argue that it’s abusive.
S1: We love to count things that our children do that we’re proud of.
S2: And so I say
S1: wear that badge with pride.
S3: Where would she be with that one? Well, she’d be a clean bird, not a dirty word,
S1: but not enjoying the dulci to let’s say. I mean,
S2: she would not be a bird.
S2: This is why we claim all their wins. Exactly.
S1: I love that. Well, I have a feel for us this week that we finished our our big road trip and just had the most epic, like reintegration into society post pandemic fail. The first night we got in to Colorado Springs, friends from when we lived here before invited us over for dinner because we were getting in kind of late. And we’re currently living in what the military calls TLF, which is your temporary lodging facility, and it’s as homey as it sounds. So they invited us over like the kids toys to play with and like a home cooked meal after being on the road. We took 15 days to drive here, did a bunch of really cool stuff. So we get here. And first of all, I cannot get Teddy into the house. He has spent the entire road trip every time the doors open, asking, are we in Colorado Springs? We’re like, no. And then he just like cries and says, I don’t want to go here. I want to be in Colorado Springs. Like, OK, so the door is open here to the van. And we’re like, we’re in Colorado Springs. And he’s like, I don’t
S2: want to be here. I don’t want to live here.
S1: I like drag him into this friend’s house that we haven’t seen in many years. And he’s just kicking and screaming, doesn’t want to be here. The friend is just laughing it off because she’s the absolute best and he’s like trying to escape out of the house. We, like, accidentally let that cat out. Why we’re doing this, OK? Meanwhile, the other two kids are playing great with their the family were with house kids that are exactly the same ages as our children. They’re playing so well, there’s a trampoline out back there jumping like so fun. And then about the time that dinner is served, I’m not sure what happens. But Oliver comes screaming in to where the parents are sitting and he’s like, he hit me. And no one in this family apologizes if we’re like what he’s like, not even the parents. Oh, my gosh. And honestly, I’m recording at this friend’s house right now, like they are such good friends of ours. And he goes, I’m never coming back to this house. This is a no apology.
S2: Family goes out to the van
S1: and I’m just like, do not know. Well, like, there’s no amount of wine that makes this better. It’s no amount of I’m just like we haven’t been around people in a long time, so I have no idea what happened. The next day we’re actually with these same for the same family again. Everything was fine the next day, I don’t know if it was just like too many people after a too long road trip, like we’ve only been with our family and now we’re with all these other people. But it was like the most disastrous crash landing back in back into society. But, you know, good friends, because I’m I’m here now.
S3: I feel like we have like a couple of months of grace period where we’re all just going to be complete wrecks, right. Where we’re just like have completely forgotten how to deal with other human beings and what
S2: exactly my social skills are just coming back. I like was hanging out with a friend that I’ve known for years on my first kind of like out of town moment. And I had to ask him if we could play an icebreaker game.
S3: Yeah, maybe that’s what I should have done here. Maybe what we needed was a nice. Yeah, because
S2: I needed time. So, you know, a conversation cards.
S1: Well, let’s get on to our first listener question. It’s being read, as always, by the wonderful Shasha Lanard.
S4: Hi, mom and dad. My husband and I have three kids age twenty, seventeen and thirteen. I have always been the primary parent and my top goal in life is to have a close relationship with them. I think I’m on the right track. They all talk to me about everything they say I love you to me and I feel close to each of them. My husband, on the other hand, places work is his first priority. Typical teen attitudes flare, his temper, resulting in him giving the silent treatment to whoever angered him. Plus, he doesn’t engage in the day to day stuff like carpooling or making lunches. So he’s out of touch with our kids lives. I have decided that there isn’t anything I can or want to do to force these relationships. I do not intervene in any way to make things better between my husband and my kids. I have suggested that he go to counseling a few times to get some coaching if he wants to make his relationships with the kids better. The thing is, I think he sees that I have a good relationship with the kids and wonders why he doesn’t, but he’s not willing to change. Is there something I can do or is this out of my control? Thank you. Functionally single mom.
S1: All right, Emily. Lay it on them.
S3: I think that if there was ever like a more concise illustration of the adage you are not punished for your sins, but by them like this is it? I admire her restraint in terms of being like she doesn’t want to force these relationships. She doesn’t want to intervene. She’s like, it seems to me that she’s like he isn’t at all. I’m not going to, like, give him a play by play of how to interact with his own children, and especially since her kids are pretty grown. But it just seems like so glaring that he he understands that his kids don’t engage with him in the way that they engage with her, but doesn’t tie that to his own behavior. I feel like that’s like a huge, like, relationship problem. You know, I don’t know if he was like an engaged father before and he’s just like scared of teenagers, which they’re teenagers are terrifying. So I get that. But but, yeah, I don’t even know if I really have any good advice for her, except I feel like maybe if maybe she needs to take one step into intervention in terms of just pointing out, like not to be accusatory, but they’re reacting to how you are with them. Hmm. Which doesn’t feel like intervening. That just feels like sometimes people need to have things pointed out to them.
S2: I think he definitely needs to hear that, you know, that your relationship with your children is a result of how you relate to your children like you. This is born of your behavior and your choices. And, you know, if you did what you thought was best up until this point, if you want there to be a different outcome, you’re going to have to do something different, you know. But I do think, unfortunately, as so often is the case for moms, that you being the person who is primarily responsible for the well-being of these children outside of their material needs, should consider what becomes of them not having a better relationship to their father. And so beyond just feeling, you know, you’re right, he did this. It’s not technically your responsibility to fix his mess for him, but it is your responsibility to fix your children’s messes for them. Right. And right now, he is for them a mess. And so whatever you can do, he said that he hasn’t been willing to change, but perhaps there needs to be some sort of you know, I don’t want to say it, but ultimatum. Right. Or some sort of stakes involved. What he perhaps requires is some sort of intervention from a professional, somebody who can help him get to understand why he’s not choosing to engage with them differently, because even if he is a workaholic, there’s ways that he could have compensated that, compensated for that, even if he only wanted a superficial, sweet relationship with the kids right there, dads that work all the time that then become Disney dad, you know, and it doesn’t have to always be a financial thing. It could be that this dad is just always smiling and always happy and always has energy for them when he’s playing with them because he so rarely plays with them. But he hasn’t even done that. And so I think he needs to understand for himself why he hasn’t tried harder when it comes to his shoulder. And I think that it is your responsibility as both partner to him, but most importantly, as a mother to these children to guide him, encourage him into some sort of professional help. Mm.
S1: I also, though I’m struck by in the letter she says, like, I’m OK with this, but then she’s like writing us this letter. So I also want to say it’s OK to not be OK with this. And I looked at it as like you are so not OK with this that you are writing in to ask for advice. I think therefore it’s also a marriage issue. Yeah, absolutely. Even even if he is not engaged in wanting to have a relationship with the children, your marriage is affected by the fact that he is not engaged with the children. And so at the very least, if he won’t go to therapy for them, maybe he will go to therapy with you to talk about kind of the balance and the relationship as a family. Because to me, if I had a spouse that was acting this way, it would hurt me as the mom who was doing all this. And I actually think you bring up an excellent point that I I had kind of noted, like, he’s missing this relationship, but the kids are also missing this relationship. And I think that needs to be addressed in kind of a family therapy situation. And I think if he won’t go, what you can do is you can go because as much as he needs coaching, maybe you also need some coaching. I mean, I hate to make this your problem because clearly everything letter writer is your problem. But it seems to me that this is something you want changed for your family. I think that a professional can help you change that and maybe he will go, if not for the kids, for you, right. Like if you work on your marriage and he understands, like, I’m not sure from the email that they’ve had a frank conversation about it, like to sit down. And I think that’s what you were kind of getting out when you said ultimatum, like say this is unacceptable in this family and we need to fix it, not just like, hey, if you wanted a better relationship, like, you need to have a better relationship.
S3: Mom is the the last line, but he is not willing to change like I feel like bodes poorly for for this. Oh yeah. And it also I feel like there’s so there’s so much more I want to know about what’s going on in this situation like. Yeah. Because I do think is
S1: our own conclusion. Yeah. Go ahead.
S3: I also because I agree that this is definitely like a marriage problem and I would be devastated if my husband was like, you know, hurting my kids in this in this like, you know, distant, petty way. We’re also she’s the letter writer. This is her perspective. Like, it really makes me want to know what the father would say, you know, like if if he has a completely different read on this, if he feels like pushed away or left out of the family, like, not to give him too much of the benefit of the doubt. But there’s just there’s so there’s so much happening here. Yeah. That I think step one is she like goes into counseling to figure out, like, the best way to sort through what’s what’s happening here. And if he won’t, then that’s that’s a problem.
S1: I mean, there’s definitely that feeling like any time people are closer, the people who are not close feel left out. Right. Like we can see that in any relationship. So I think there is a chance that the unwilling to change feels a little bit like I’m so far behind in the game. What can I do at this point? Like maybe you missed out on all this childhood stuff when they were little. But I feel like there because your kids are older. There’s also this opportunity to now step up and be you know, it’s like being a parent changes as your kids get older. And so maybe this is actually a really good time to engage because what they need now is more maybe akin to what you’re doing in your job than it was when it was like the the nitty gritty caretaking. Right. Like the packing lunches and things like that, which, of course, you can help with. But clearly they have not. But now it is more like parenting to an older kid, right? It’s more like giving advice and being a listening ear and supporting. So something that takes a little bit less energy. So maybe there’s an opportunity for them to start doing something together or doing the like dad taking in charge of teaching someone to drive. Like there’s all these kind of milestones that I think happen when you’re older, looking at schools or getting your first apartment, all of those things that maybe he can or and you can encourage him, letter writer, to take an active lead in those things, which are maybe more akin to the skill set that he has. I don’t know. I’m drawing a whole lot of my own conclusions, but I think there are these opportunities. Just because you missed out, you didn’t miss out on the whole parenting game. There’s an opportunity to start investing in little ways and building the relationship. But I think also like it’s not going to fix overnight.
S3: No. Assuming that all of this is on the level, you know, he’s going to have a lot of work to do to repair his relationship. I mean, you know, treating your giving your teenage kids the silent treatment is such a I don’t know, that’s such a shitty petty like thing to, you know, that there’s a lot to walk back from, I think. I don’t know. I feel good. Is there ever any follow up? I want to talk to functionally single mom and see how this goes.
S1: Yes, I think every single mom we want to hear from you. We want to hear what your next steps were. Please write us and and let us know because we our hearts go out to you. This is a really difficult situation. At least I feel that way, like I think there is really a way, a way forward. But you’re the tough times are still to come. Like, I think you’re going to have to to engage with your husband very up front about what the problem is. And and everyone’s going to have to put in put in some work. So hopefully we were able to help other listeners, help us, help you by sending us an email at mom and dad at Slate Dotcom. All right. Let’s move on to our second listener question, and it’s being read once again by the fabulous Shasha Lanard.
S4: Dear Mom and Dad, is it unreasonable for me to expect an almost six year old to have an hour or two of quiet time in the afternoons where he plays on his own? He was a late napper, but once he started fighting the naps, we switched to quiet time where he could play independently. He was doing this fine last year, but now it’s become an issue. He’s only in preschool two mornings a week and the rest of the time home with me, he’s active social, never stops talking and asking questions. I’m an introvert who needs her space. Beyond that, I do freelance. So sometimes quiet time is needed to accomplish my work. So I really, really need a nap or quiet period. And now I’m dying when it’s nice out. We often go to the park on the days we’re home. I’m all but begging him to play on his own for a bit. But he keeps interrupting or yelling nonstop questions to me from the playroom, or he’s in the kitchen constantly looking for snacks, or he tries to get his hands on some sort of screen, which is the only thing that keeps him occupied alone. He gets screen time in the mornings or while I cook dinner, he has a playroom stuffed with toys. I can’t remember the last time he independently picked up a book, Drew Colored built Legos or anything. If I’m not right next to him, I’m tired. And the total lack of time to myself until evening is making me irritable and short fused. I have an 11 year old who has always been supremely independent, so this is all new to me.
S2: I can so relate. Welcome to my life. For the past eight years I have a child who has a room full of every imaginable thing to do, like you said, coloring toys, all that stuff. But when I am not giving her my attention, which is typically her preferred mode of entertainment, she wants to scream. She loves playing Barbies with me when I’m like, hey, play Barbies, why not as like, I don’t want to do that. I want to be on the screen. So you’re kind of stuck because the only thing that works is something that you don’t want to rely on. But you know that if you pull it out, that’s screen it would work. I would recommend one if you haven’t already. You have to talk to your child about the nature of your work and what it means that you’re working from home. It’s important that he understands that, like my daughter and I have had a lot of conversations about what it is that I do for a living, how important it is that I get it done, what it means to be a freelancer, which is essentially what I am. If I don’t create. If I don’t produce, I am not paid. If I’m not paying all of these things around you, I paid for them. Right. And so your your child needs to understand that. And not just the financial aspect of it, but just if this is your time that you have these things that you have to do at times, I think it’s appropriate to say these are your options. You can color, you can play with dinosaurs, you can this game, that game, all of your games at your disposal of your art. Is it your disposal? We’re not doing screens from this time to that time. Right. It may be the case other days that instead of doing the screen time during dinner, you’re doing a screen time while you’re working. Right. Maybe when you’re cooking dinner is when he has to figure it out with a coloring book. But that time where you are writing or working is more important that you have your all of your attention. Right. It may be annoying to have him bothering you while you’re cooking dinner, but it’s not the same as when you’re trying to work. There will be days where you just have to say, fuck it and let him use the tablet, let him watch the movie. You have things that have to be done and you need that time to yourself. You know, as you know, not everything that kids are encountering on screens falls under the category of mind numbing entertainment. Right. And hopefully at his age, the majority of the things that he’s taking in have some sort of strong educational aspect, or at least are at the very least were designed with the development of a kid his age in mind. You find those programs, find some you know, maybe there’s a couple of films, maybe there’s a couple of shows like Sesame Street that you feel comfortable turning to when you just can’t do it right. You can entertain. He won’t do anything else. And you need to work. Go to this, to the to ABC, Match.com or whatever other educational space. I’m sure Elizabeth II has even more suggestions for them than I did and and let that be that and give yourself grace like you have a kid in the house, like working in the house with a kid, even if this is something you were doing before covid, which I was. It’s not natural, normal or easy. It’s just not great situation. And for a lot of us, it’s just what it is. But it’s an incredibly trying, emotionally challenging situation, too. I want you to give yourself grace for that. Like it feels very bad to not be able to give your kid the time and energy that they want because you’re trying to do something else, whether it’s something else that you must do or even something that you’re choosing to do. That feeling sucks, but. I think you have to be easier on yourself and girl given the tablet market.
S3: Yeah, yeah. I’m with Djamila on this. I, I mean, my husband and I both work from home and freelance and we have definitely had a lot of talks with our daughter. Like if you don’t let us work, rent doesn’t get paid, toys don’t get bought, et cetera, et cetera, like really tried to bring it home, like the consequences of us not being able to work. But I will say that as I’m saying this to her, I’m like this. These are very adult consequences, that it might be a little bit too much for her to really understand. And so my advice and what I have to say is definitely easier said than done is basically I think you have to kind of set a hard boundary with him, just be like, you know, I need one hour. Here are some water. Here is a snack. I am setting a timer. If you interrupt me in this hour, X consequence will happen. You mean you could try it in, like, baby steps, right, for twenty minutes, 40 minutes, etc. and get him used to just figuring some stuff out on his own and see how that goes again. It’s easier said than done. I have noticed that every high minded, you know, like, like I’ll just do it this way and it’ll be fine. Like during the pandemic is one hundred percent shit the bed. So, so yeah. And also. Yes, absolutely. Give yourself a break with the screens. Like my daughter moved to roblox like early in the pandemic and she just lives there now. Like I’ve ceded my entire parenting responsibility to the Avatars and she’s fine. So yeah I think it is absolutely OK to let screens raise your kids a little bit. I don’t know. I was raised by a television and I turned out all right
S1: off the bat like it is completely OK to use technology. And no one at this point should be shaming themselves or feeling bad about that at any point. I am, you know, try hard, especially with our home school, to be like screen free during times. I absolutely feel no shame handing any of the kids one at any time when I just need to gain control of the situation. So I think, like off the bat, my first thing is stop feeling like this is only for dinner time or morning. That being said, I do have some suggestions because when we started homeschooling, this is something that I really struggled with because now all of a sudden I was going to be with the kids all the time. I have other stuff that needs to get done, both for work and just for like house life management and also just like Elizabeth time. Right. Like there are just things that I have to do during the day for me in the morning. It’s really important to me to do some things before I’m kind of up with the kids. And so figuring out how to get myself that time when they’re awake and functional, you have to teach kids to play alone. It is not something that they know at this point. Like, I think a lot of us think that kids know how to play alone, because when we were raised or when our parents were raised, things were just so much different. Like parents were not as available or in or involved. And so kids were just alone more. They were taught to be alone because they were alone. And now we don’t leave them alone a lot. And so they don’t know how to be alone. We started I think the timer is a great suggestion by setting those boundaries of, like, you are going to play alone for five minutes. I think I’ve recommended this before that. Before you do that, I think it’s important to fill the attention bucket. So setting out in your schedule ten minutes or so to sit down and play their game with them the way that they want. And here it’s really important that you don’t take over ownership of the game, because if you say we’re going to play this this way, it’s really hard for you to leave the game because you set up the game. If you are the person who just sits down and says, what does this Barbie do next? What does this truck do next? OK, I’m doing that. You’re playing with them and you’re feeling the attention bucket. And they’re but they’re suggesting all the stuff. And so when you say, I need to go for ten minutes, I’m going to set this timer. I can’t wait to see what happens when I come back. I think that when you do this, you have to come back when that timer goes off or you have broken this like like they’re learning to trust you, that when you say play alone for an hour, that it’s only going to be an hour. Right. That you are going to come check back in and see how they were doing. So I think it’s really important that when I know for me it’s hard because it’s like I sit down and I get going and I needed more than that ten minutes. But I know that when that ten minutes is up, I need to go invest, let’s say, three more minutes to get another ten until you build up to the point at which they’re playing on their own. I think the other thing it sounds like you need is a toy rotation. I found that having all the toys available, it’s like they’re completely overwhelmed and nothing gets played with. So I try to have a. Like pack a bunch of stuff away or where they can’t see it, and then I kind of I didn’t make up this term, but it’s one that I’ve come to use is like an invitation to play. So I might set up a really cool train track and say, like, this is and like leave the trains and maybe have that be what we’re playing with so that it’s up and ready to be played with. Sometimes I do that at night. Sometimes I do that. We have quiet reading time every day that again, the kids have have come to learn to do. And we have learned to do the quiet reading time because I pick out some reading that I need to do, either for work or for just on my own. And I sit down with them in the room with a book, and when they ask me a question, I say, this is quiet reading time. You’re welcome to write down that question or thumb the page. But I’m reading, too, to like set the example of, like, we’re not really chatting right now. I loved Emily. You mentioned, like, have snack where they can get it. I think that is key. If they’re bothering you for a snack, there’s a snack box. And for the next hour, like, there’s three snacks and a cup of water or whatever, and it’s where they can get it and it’s their responsibility. And do know that you are going to trade the quiet time for a mess. Like no matter what you do when you return, it will be a mess. That is the price you pay for everything.
S2: Not worth it. It’s totally worth it. They’re going to admit it. I, I learn. I just want to jump and say I learned this magic trick from a metric. But the snack thing from Elizabeth like, oh why. They should have access to food. That’s crazy. But it really does work. They will eat all of them. Yeah. For a while. It’ll take a while before they realize like oh I don’t have to eat them all but yes. And you’ll come back to a mess of wrappers but it’s totally worth it.
S1: I the other thing is if they’re talking to you all the time, which it sounds like it’s happened, I take that to mean like they need that input. So I’m going to recommend an audio book, a podcast or some music that they love. There’s some great kids podcast we are really loving. Wow. In the world, which I think is kind of a known. People love that. And also one called Geeking Out, which is kind of a retelling of Greek myths. There are tons of amazing children’s podcasts now that will buy you forty five minutes to an hour of the kid listening to other people talking. And that seems to fill that gap of like, I want this attention. You may have to listen to a few with them to get them kind of into it and wanting to listen to it. My kids like to listen to the same episode now over and over again, but it’s like, who cares? Right. They’re going to listen to that in their space where they’re playing. So they’re now they’re getting that auditory input that they would have been getting from you. They’ve got their snack that they can get. They’ve got a toy that you’ve set out, but they’re not distracted by other toys. The other thing is looking at your kid’s schedule and saying, like, can I get quiet time in the morning? I have a child that does the afternoon. It’s just impossible. They they have like spent all their energy. So I have to take that quiet time in the morning with them and just say, like, this is we’re going to do our quiet block at ten and then end with lunch when there’s going to be a lot of like contact time because we’re all sitting together and do that and then the afternoon is more full. I know traditionally, like because naps were in the afternoon, people feel like I should do my quiet time in the afternoon. But really, look at your kid. Are they do they play better in the morning when they’re like they’re not their battery is not spent so they’re more capable of kind of entertaining themselves? It’s definitely a journey like you’re going to start out with ten minutes and then maybe the next day you get twenty minutes in the next you know, the next week even. But I think you can get there. And I think Emily is totally right when she says you have to set the boundary and when they come to see you and talk to you, you have to say, I love you so much and I can’t wait to play with you, but I’m doing I’m doing my work. Or you can say you seem bored and I can’t wait to see what you do with that.
S1: And and just send them out. You know, I think you can’t feed if you’re getting up and answering them every time when you said that you weren’t going to. And if they may need a symbol, I wear these like huge noise canceling headphones that I don’t turn on because I need to hear what they’re doing. But it is a visual symbol to them that I have asked for a little bit of time. Right. And that I am doing my own thing. And then I also have the drama of removing the headphones to listen to them. I think that sometimes by the time I’ve gotten them off, they’re like, Oh, never mind. I’m like, yeah, exactly.
S3: So why should just hang a sign outside my office door? This is boredom is a gift, right? Like that.
S1: Boredom is a gift. Yes. And once you say that five or six times, they don’t want to hear it anymore. Yes. I’m asking. I’m like, oh, you seem so bored. What a gift
S2: it is a gift. It’s a gift. They’ll come to appreciate when they get older for sure. Right.
S1: Don’t you could be bored. I know. Or we would love to have an update to see if any of these things worked. And I feel like we just have to add one more time by saying electronics are OK. I want everyone to feel like they are. If all if you want to try none of those things and just give them more iPad time, I’m here. Yeah. So so everyone else, if you have a question for us, email us at Mom and dad at Slate Dotcom or do it. This listener did. Posted on the Slate Parenting Facebook group. All right, on to recommendations and Emily, we’re going to start with you.
S3: So my recommendation is a movie actually the Mitchells versus the machines. It came out on Netflix, I think, this week. It’s so funny and it’s so good. And we have watched it as a family like probably three times. I feel like it’s one of those few, like movies that actually is incredibly appealing to both children and the adults. And it’s like this is going to sound so goofy, but it made us feel closer as a family, like it’s so it’s so good and so beautifully done. And yeah, I recommend it highly.
S1: Yeah. My kids, they must have seen something about it on the trip because they’ve been asking about it. And I was like, well I haven’t, I haven’t read anything so let me check into it so now I can go give an enthusiastic yes. Yeah, yeah, yeah.
S3: Six thumbs up.
S1: Yay Jamila what about you.
S2: So I don’t know if in the time that I’ve been on this show that I’ve ever heard a host repeat another host’s recommendation and I wish I could wait until he was back or rather until we were both back on the same podcast stage. But I have to echo Dan’s endorsement of Girls five ever on Peacocke. I am obsessed with this show. I subscribe to another fucking streaming service just to get more after watching one episode they know how to get. Yeah, you get the free episode and then you’re like, I have to have more of it right now. And I didn’t realize. I think there’s only eight episodes available and we’ve seen six of them. I’m like devastated. So I think we have to like, chill for a minute. But it is so good. As Dan recommended the last time he was on the show, it’s about a girl band from the late 90s, early 2000s. Of course, these are now women in their mid forties and they’ve moved on into civilian life after getting one of their records sampled by a big hip hop band. They decide to get the band back together as middle aged women with very different lives than their brief run at pop stardom. And it’s so good. I can’t say it’s appropriate for kids, but I do like Nyima. Watch it because I’m traveling and loves it. And Rene Goldsberry is the diva of the group and oh my God, she is so like she deserves every award imaginable. She’s so funny and I’ll just leave you with this cease and desist bitch. And it is my prayer for America that cease and desist, which is a household phrase within the next month. If it’s not, it’s because we’re not watching this gem of a show.
S3: This sounds so squarely up my daughter’s alley, like, thank you for this. And I am totally fine with her watching like TV. That isn’t necessarily for kids. She’s like obsessed with Schitt’s Creek, which is a very wholesome show. Your girls need to get together. Yeah, I know. Yeah. My daughter’s from Brooklyn. Oh, yeah. Yeah.
S2: When we come back for this, at some point whenever we can come back, we can do a play date because she she calls it Schitt’s Creek. She came out with that on her own, which I thought was very sweet.
S3: I love that
S1: girl. Simba has been on my, like, list of things to watch. So I think it’s just it’s got to go to the top. Maybe I’ll recommend it next week, please.
S2: I’ll give you more
S3: time to watch it.
S1: I’m going to watch it.
S2: I have more talking points. So for next week, when you’re going to do your recommendation, I’ll send them to you, because I just want to make sure we get everyone on board with this.
S1: I’m here for it, OK? I am recommending not just a helpful kid’s travel product called the Peapod. Plus it is a portable travel bed. We use it when the kids were little. Now, when they were really little, we used the fill in Ted’s traveler, which is like this crib that pulls together kind of like a tent, like it folds really small. But this is it feels like a sunshade, like how you kind of twist it and it’s in and it’s in a circle. And then it pops out to be this like flowerbed that is actually really comfortable, but it fits kids up to like six years old. And so I say,
S2: wish of your kids can get to trouble.
S1: So Teddy, Teddy and Oliver fit in it and one night they fit in it together, which is weird, a little close, but it kind of zips up and makes its own bed because some places were able to get like enough beds for everybody to be comfortable. But some places we really aren’t to all be in the same room. And Teddy actually really loves because it’s kind of his space. And we brought that and he has his little pillow. Powell and a sleeping bag goes in there. It’s really great. Like he he legitimately at this temporary living, asked to bring it out because I think he feels like it’s a cozy, safe space, like he has a bed, but would prefer this floor bed, which, you know, we’ll deal with that in therapy later. But it’s really, really nice, like I. I’m just surprised how long it’s lasted and that you can fit an older kid, and I know some of us with larger families, like having an additional space for someone to sleep, is great and it’s nice and small and has this. The other thing I really like, it has a pad, but the pad attaches to the to the bottom of the bed so that like if you had a smaller a baby or something, they can’t get under the mattress. The mattress is actually underneath the bed. And like I said it it folds with one of those funky wrist twists to make an oval and packs up really small teddy like carries it in with his pillow and thinks he’s so cool. But that’s the Peapod. Plus I guess the Peapod is only for babies, but the Peapod plus toddlers fit into and Oliver gets in there, he’s seven and there’s still a little bit of room. So it’s been great on our trip. Teddy still sleeping in it. He may be sleeping in it forever because he loves it so much he can zip it up and I think hide his iPad in there honestly is why he likes it. But whatever, like I said, electronics all day. We love it. That’s it for our show. And so for one last time, if you have a question, you can email us at mom and dad at Slate dot com or posted to this late parenting Facebook group. Just search for Slate parenting.
S5: Mom and Dad are fighting is produced by Rosemarie Bellson. For Jay Lemieux
S1: and Emily Flake, I’m Elizabeth Newcome. Let’s keep going. Slate plus listeners, so Emily, this isn’t the first time you’re predicting your daughter’s future. You actually did a whole stand up routine about this. Can you tell us a little bit how it came about?
S3: I think that any time you have a kid just thinking about their future is automatic. I mean, a kid is nothing but future potential. And my daughter was born in twenty twelve. And I think things have only gotten more apocalyptic every ensuing year. So I feel that every time I think about what the future brings in terms of like her teen hood and her adolescence, like not only do I know that I have like this massive load of karmic debt from my own adolescence that I’m going to have to pay forward from dealing with her. But she also may be fighting sentient robots. So it’s there’s like a whole lot of different scenarios. I can I can imagine for her in twenty twenty six, at which point she will be am bad at math 14, she’ll be 14. And if I recall correctly, that is when I went into the tunnel. So she’ll probably be I mean she’s probably building hers now. She’s, she’s not to brag but she says is me on a ninth grade level. But yeah I think that she assuming and this is a big assumption, assuming society and the climate has not collapsed by then, I think best case scenario, she will be very much like she is now because she is like very both very emotionally intelligent and also like a real deep roller emotionally. So, like, I feel like once she hears the Smiths, it’s all over, like she’s going to find her her groove as like a moody teen. And I think that probably my kids are still going to, like, live online and everything. I hope that the world is better than it is right now. But that feels that feels optimistic. I didn’t really answer the question. No, this is great,
S1: Dumela, what do you want to give your predictions for Nyima in twenty twenty six?
S2: Yeah, I, I so I try not to think about where the world will be in five years because any attempt of doing that in the past has been how do you
S1: protect the pandemic.
S2: I totally do not have the pandemic on my doomsday calendar. So I’ve just given up trying to think about what the future will look like, aside from us being like super happy and successful. That’s the only thing I’m visualizing. You know, I do I would imagine I am 13 and that tunnel is. Yeah, yeah. We’ve been lambrix for that tunnel for a long time. I’d like to believe that by 13 because Nyima is sassing me on a 19 year old level. So I just, I feel like we’re playing out scenes from Dynasty and this like Black Dynasty and which is exactly how my mother and I speak. It’s like black working class dynasty or how we speak to each other and how we started relating to each other around 12 or 13. And so what I’m hoping for is that Naimah also being a very emotionally intelligent girl, that she will have evolved past that so that by 13 she will have already gotten her mainstage out of like the thing that I was right in the thick of. She’ll have been like been there, done that. Eleven was a dark summer, you know, and that by 13, her meditation practice will be so, you know, rigorous and consistent. And she she’ll have so many coping mechanisms to deal with her feelings that she’ll be the one calming me down, like mom pulling a crystal out of her pocket. And, you know, I think of Nam as kind of wilesmith ish in certain ways, like a Willow Smith and Beyonce. I also believe that because this is how she present this is how she also fancies herself. I’m not assigning any of these things to her. I have no interest in pushing her into any sort of public anything, let alone just the arts in general. But I know that that is in a lot of ways what she went what she is an artist. She draws, she dances, she does graphic design and interest in music. I do believe that by 13, she will accomplish her goal of being the youngest host in the history of Roupas. Drag Race are not hosted by their guest judge if the show is still on. And if not, she will be a guest judge on the younger and the more progressive program that has replaced repolish drag race that allows her to celebrate her love, of all things drag. What about you, Elizabeth, you’re going to have a attack going on in five,
S1: 10, 12 and 14 year old boys, so the big. The house will be smelly. I anticipate there’ll be a lot of awkward silence and general ignoring of my presence. No, but I the thing is, my my kids will have this. You know, they all love being out in nature and doing these things. And I keep kind of waiting for that to go away or to to wait. And in fact, it just feels like it’s it’s building in kind of stranger weirder ways. And so and thinking about this, I kind of thought like, well, you know, by 14, Henry might be like fully tracking animals entirely by their scat, which I think is kind of his goal at this point is like that he won’t need the reference book. He will just be like a white tailed deer has been here. Follow them. You know, you should know his goal is not to track them, to kill them. His goal is to track them, to see them and befriend them. Actually, he on our trip made us stop so he could rescue this tortoise that was in the middle of the road in Kansas. And when we were like, I don’t know if it’s safe to stop, he was like in tears. Of course, we stopped and reversed the car on this dirt road. He got out. It was then subsequently peed on him, like immediately. So that was awesome. I I think that Oliver will have realistically filled our house with rocks. He constantly has rocks in his pocket. And again, I thought that that was something that would go away. But for his birthday, he asked his grandfather for his rock hammer so that he could gather more rocks. So maybe I have a budding geologist. He’s very interested in the earth and the way
S2: he asked his grandmother for his
S1: camera. Yes, yes. He wants my grandfather, my dad’s rock hammer, which my dad gave to him.
S2: So this is a family
S3: tradition, an heirloom, an heirloom
S1: of a of a rock hammer.
S3: All I can think of Shawshank Redemption.
S1: Yeah. Well, when he opened it when he opened it, they the other kids were like he got a sledge hammer, you know, he’s like, it is a rock hebra.
S3: I would have
S2: said that, too, because I’ve never heard of a rock hammer.
S1: It has, like, you know, it’s like has a little end for like tapping at small rocks and a larger and for like cracking open like a geode or a rock. We did have to stop him from using it. And like like you cannot use these in national parks. Right. Like this is a purely you have to know where to use these. But yeah, he’s very he’s like very into it. I mean, since he’s been little, he’s been picking stuff up. I’m pretty sure that Teddy, although he’ll be ten, is going to be a computer hacker that hopefully for good.
S3: Probably not get that ransom money.
S1: He’ll probably be holding the Colonial Pipeline hostage. I mean, I he’s very into like hacking into our iPads and like just going around things on our phones. He kind of constantly any time, Jeffri, are like on the trip was like, where’s our phone? We’d like hear someone, you know, kind of laughing in the back and he’d be like, here, how do you get that from the calm out? Like you’re buckled in the back. So your high hopes for these kids
S3: feel like you really have rock, paper, scissors covered in their children. They yeah.
S1: It’s so hard to know, though. Like, I think their their survival skills really like the pandemic and the outside stuff kind of fueled that because we spent so much more time outside and I started to think like, hey, these might be OK skills to like have an offer to the world.
S3: Yeah, that’s awesome.
S1: All right. We hope that you will join us on the Facebook group and let us know where you think your parenting journey will take you in the next five years. We would love to hear what you have to say about that for you or your kids. And as always, thanks for being a slate plus listener. And we will talk to you next time.