S1: This ad free podcast is part of your Slate plus membership. The following podcast contains explicit language.
S2: Platform for mom and dad are fighting sleep. Parenting podcast from various states, allies, seconds that goes right through. In addition, I’m Elizabeth Nukak. I write the homeschool family, have a blog that says School and the mom, Oliver’s three. And I’m located in Navarre, Florida. And Jamilah Lemieux, a writer contributor to Slate Care and Feeding Parenting column and Mom tonight, who is seven. And we live in Los Angeles, California.
S3: Hi, I’m Dan Coates. I’m a writer at Slate and the author of the book How to Be a Family, and that of Lyra, who’s 15, and Harper, who’s 12. And I’m in the basement, as always, in Arlington, Virginia.
S2: Today in the show, we have a very silly question about a little one who thinks he needs to pee immediately after drinking water. We’ll also be answering a question about how to best support a teen who recently came out as trans.
S4: We’ll be joined by Slate’s Evan AirCar to help us with that discussion. And as always, we have triumphs and failures and recommendations. Dan, do you have a time for a feel for us this week?
S3: I’ve got a big fucking fail.
S4: Okay, let’s hear it.
S3: All right. So last night at dinner time, I had made dinner. Last night, I made steaks and corn on the cob and I made a veggie burger for Harper, who’s a vegetarian. And I called everyone to the table. And Harper is already sitting at the table, but she’s on a laptop playing like some robots game. And I’m like, Harper, it’s time for dinner. And she goes, Oh, I. I just have a few minutes left in this game. I just have to finish the game and I’m like, OK, well, I’m setting the table, Harper, and then I’m putting the food on the table. And when we sat down to eat, you’re going to need to get off the computer and she’s like, no daddy, it’s the middle of the game. But I’ll be off soon and I go and get the food and I put it on the table and I’m like, Harper, and it’s time to get off the computer. It is dinner time. And Lyra, who’s sitting there, of course, is helpful. She’s like, I let her finish the game. What’s the harm? You can’t penalize all the other people in this game just because you made dinner. And so here I am stuck with this dilemma. And it’s a very annoying dilemma to be stuck in. So I have two options. One is like the normal option, right? I can just say no. Harper Absolutely not. You cannot be sitting on a computer at the table. And I have served dinner. Close the computer and join us. Then probably I would have to, like, physically close the computer and take it away from her. And then she would cry and sulk, like all through dinner and just like ruin dinner for everyone as she tells me how mean I was. And then she’ll be a pain in the ass all night. Or write option two. I can give in and sit at the table eating this dinner I made for everyone while watching her ignore us all and play a video game. But then at least when she finally finishes the video game in a couple of minutes or whatever, she will be like pleasant to everyone. This is frustrating because both choices were fails really just have different degrees. So anyways, I chose B because I didn’t want to get in a giant fight and so that I, like, sat there eating shit. I mean, eating my food that I made Razo eating shit. It felt like just stewing for the next five minutes while she, like, taps away at her computer. And finally she says like, oh, we’ve reached the next level and everyone’s renewed or something. And I’m like, OK. Does that mean you can close the computer and join us at dinner? And instantly she is like, well, you don’t have to be so mean about it. And then she like slams if we were shouting and she’s angry at me through dinner anyways. So I ruined dinner. And also I failed to get my kid to act like a civilized human being at the dinner table. The only thing I did right at that moment was that at that point I just took it and I didn’t like continue the argument. I said, let’s talk about this later. Heartbreak as a women, way worse for me to just dig in. But this is like the one millionth time with her that I wanted to be like Harper. If you don’t want me to be mad at you, do the thing I asked you did, too. Like that is the no fail method for you not to feel upset because I’m angry at you. That’s only ways that my feel is that I felt totally backed into this No-Win situation. And needless to say, I lost this No. One situation, and I’m so not like doing a great job and navigating this, like, stubbornness that Harper gets when her plans are not met with the facts of reality and my stubbornness, when my plans are not met with the facts of her reality. And we are like at loggerheads about this a lot. So that was a very, very frustrating dinner, though. Delicious, but frustrating.
S4: I’ve definitely been in the same spot, and I agree with you that it’s just like a lose lose. And I always feel like it’s usually Oliver who just wants to, like, finish playing or doing whatever he’s doing. But I understand because I also really hate it, like if Jeff tells me to come or that it’s time to go somewhere and I’m working on something, it’s like I also need to finish this. And so I I understand the need to, like, give them some space to finish what they’re doing because it is really annoying. But I agree with you. It’s like there’s no win because they always take advantage of me saying that, you know, they can keep playing.
S5: I think if she had not been at the literal dinner table, I wouldn’t have been so angry about it.
S4: But we all had this move like, okay, you can keep playing, but you can’t play at the table.
S5: Yeah, I would’ve been smarter. That’s a great thing. I should have died.
S4: No, not at the table yet.
S5: Next, probably she would’ve been so annoyed by that. She was fine and slammed with her and then been mad at you all.
S7: Yeah, well, but probably less so. What did her face look like while she was typing?
S5: I’d just like to see the performance of like you couldn’t have been less interested in me or how obviously angry I was. She was just on the computer staring directly at it. The rest of the universe was gone. And then when I talked to her and she closed the computer, that was one. She’s like, oh, I bet he’s been mad at me the whole time. That’s so unfair. Anyways, so somebody had to figure out, like, how to navigate these tete a tete with Harper because we both do a terrible job of them. But she has a child and I’m an adult. So, yeah, I’ve got to figure out a better route.
S4: I don’t know, because like I said, it’s so you can really empathize with both sides.
S3: Yes. Although to be fair, if Jeff was like, hey, in 20 minutes, we’re having dinner. So make sure you finish up what you’re doing. Yes. And then 20 minutes later, you were like, oh, I’m still I need to finish my video game now.
S4: And I mean, if my kid so bad to me, I would just take the iPod.
S5: Yeah, but then you got to deal with their shit forever. Oh, my God. That said, I’m retired. I’m done with it.
S4: You know, it’s like, what if you just could play the video game? And then when she returned, there was no food.
S5: That’s old school. All right. Let me I’ll try that next time. I mean, the answer is that she would be like, where’s my food?
S4: Yeah, and then be mad at you right now. But I mean I mean, you just have to accept that part. You’re going to be mad.
S5: And she’s right. I think if I understood that there was no way she wasn’t going to be mad at me, I would have just done. I would’ve just, like, done something more disciplined. Yeah. Were stern, but I, like, tried to weasel out of it. This one time they a a.
S4: You should be like at this moment. I now recognize that going forward we’re both about to be mad at each other. Yeah. So I’m like, well just choose the outcome. I will.
S5: There’s Harper. There’s five minutes left in our game with each other. This game over.
S4: Oh gosh. OK, Toomelah. How about you. Time for fail.
S6: So I have a triumph. It was a triumph. Pending. I think it’s an actual triumph. I mentioned previously, I think that we were watching the series Living Single from the beginning and that we had begun playing living single Barbie games. And so on Thursday evening, we are going to do a live episode of Living Single with Barbies on Instagram.
S7: Yeah. Wow. And who knows how it’s going to go. But no matter what, it will be entertaining. And maybe this is the outlet you are looking for. From last. Yes. You know, when I was a filmmaker.
S5: Have you cleared this with the Fox network?
S6: I have not heard you doing this under the radar, doing this under the radar. Except I made a flyer and put it on Instagram, but I did not use the logo.
S5: So if any of our listeners are copyright lawyers, maybe just expect a call at some point.
S6: We may need your help. I think it’s good. I think it’s going to be big fun. And we’re going to pen a link to the iji life for folks to make donations to a bail fund. And if three people like those three people are in for the night of their lives, I think it’s going to be super duper fun. So we’ll have an update for you next week.
S3: Are you playing a particular character? I see you’re playing multiple character.
S6: Yes, I am. Maxine Overton and Kyle Nyima is Kadija Regime and Sinclair. She got like the big roles. She got the big roles. She well, I got to be I have to be all the boys, which in that drives by. I’d make things like perhaps my favorite character. I kind of love them all. So it worked out that way because I kinda liked the numbers.
S5: Say Maxine is good, but shit like she does get to be Kadija.
S6: Yeah. She gets to be Conesa. That was the one, you know, like I might have wanted to be Kadija. But it’s cool. That’s an important character.
S4: I love it. So we expect a scripted or more like improv in nature.
S6: It’s improv. We’ve chosen an episode to recreate. So there will be, you know, where we’re being guided by plotline. Yeah. I guess my ultimate triumph is that in the 2000s and 2010s or beginning in the 2010s now going in in 2020, I have raised a 90s kid. So my child lately half. She loves Bobby. Brand new addition. She loves living single and clean with SIPA. Like her favorite song right now is Flygirl by playing with Sepo, which came out in 1993 when I was like a year older than it is now. It’s awesome.
S3: Hopefully, unlike actual 90’s kids, she will not eventually graduate like boy bands.
S6: Well, she started with boy bands, so we don’t know.
S3: Sorry to not graduate to like Backstreet Boys.
S6: Yes. 98 degrees. Hopefully not. I went from like my new edition boy bands to rap music. So we’ll see which rapper we deem appropriate and safe for her to listen to my band.
S3: Yes. You’re moving her in the right direction. I’m delighted to see. Good work. I love that triumph.
S6: Thank you. Tune in tonight to Living Single, but with Barbie dolls, a mini me la production will be on my iji page. Reveal Ammu live tonight, Thursday, July 2nd at 10:00 p.m. Eastern, 7:00 p.m. Pacific.
S5: Write it down folks.
S6: Should be big, big fun. I’m excited. I’ll be back.
S3: All right. What about you? Is worth trying for fail.
S4: I have a fail. So we use this video game for math called Prodigy. It’s very popular in the homeschooling world. It’s kind of like a mix of Pokey Mohn and a wizard quest. And there’s like animals and they evolve. Anyway, it was perfect for Henry, who’s 80, like, loves it. And it’s it’s nice cause he can go do Prodigy on his own and then it sends me little reports about what he is doing. So it’s like a nice activity to put him on so that I have time with the other one as well. Oliver has been dying to do Prodigy, but you need to be able to read and you need to like have a certain level of math. I think the first level is like first grade. And so he’s finally gotten to that point. And so I sign him up for an account. And the initial accounts are free to get more stuff. There’s some kind of paid account, but he’s doing a little free account and now it is literally all he wants to talk about. I mean, he also wants to play it all the time. But it’s like no matter what. I ask him, this is all he wants to talk about. I know nothing about this game. Like I put my trust in this, like homeschool co-op where I learned about this. I was like, okay, this sounds like something Henry can do. I check the parent portal where I find out what kind of math he is doing. I know nothing about these animals. I don’t know why they evolve or how they evolve. I don’t know how to find these crystals. Oliver will not ask his brother. He only will ask me. And no matter how many times I say, I don’t know, I don’t want to talk about this. He doesn’t care. He just any question you ask him at dinner, it is about this stupid game. So over him just still want to talk about. So I did tell him that he could have like one dinner a week to present. Every so far has worked because every time it comes up I’m like, we’d marks it on the calendar. And I was like, this is the day. But that is looming. How many Xanax are you gonna pop to her? I don’t know. I mean, definitely I’m going to pre drink. I just hope that I guess his brother’s engaged. But I. You guys, it’s terrible.
S6: This is when being a pot mom would come in handy because like you would be so into it by the end, you’d be like, oh, my God, just want you do this every. This is the best presentation I’ve ever seen in my life. You will love it.
S7: So tell me more about these animals.
S5: I mean, this is a time honored problem with kids when they get all wrapped up in some bullshit that you couldn’t care less about. And for us, there are these the series of books about fairies by quote unquote author named Daisy Meadows. And there are hundreds of them. And every book was exactly the same was like if you just took one of the books and then replaced the names in it. Yeah. And the adjectives there’d be the same as all the other books on lyr would spend hours telling us about these books. And I mean, to me the solution has always just been like a lot of vacant stares and. Aha. Huh. Mm hmm. Yeah. Yeah. That’s me.
S4: He asked me. He’s like, where is the dark crystal like. I don’t know.
S5: We can’t do is be like, oh that’s a great question. Where do you think the dark crystal is?
S4: It’s true that it’s true. This is what I like to do. Just that. But that will just lead to more commerce. Right. I know. But that’s why you put your headphones in and let him go. Yes, I do. I mean, I should just employ my own listen to a podcast while having this discussion. It’s of my own making. Yeah. Those are the things that really get me. It’s like I introduced this game to him and I should have known that this would happen.
S5: Right. You’re hoist on your own petard, as are we all as parents.
S6: So this is why you have to introduce them to your favorite group from the 90s so they can enjoy this, right? Yes, we’re in it together.
S4: It’s like finally you have somebody to talk about this when you get to reenact something you enjoyed. Me, I’m stuck in some world of evolving animals.
S5: So anyways, on Elizabeth’s Instagram live on Thursday night, she’ll be doing a live production, this math game. Do not check it out, everyone.
S8: Unfollow. No. All right, before we move on, let’s do the business. Sign up for Slate’s parenting newsletter. It’s the best place to be notified about all of our parenting content, including care and feeding, which features even more wise advice from Djamila. Mom and dad are fighting and much more. Plus, it’s a fun personal email from Dan directly to your inbox. So sign up at Slate dot com slash parenting email while you’re at it. Check us out on Facebook. It’s a really active, moderated community filled with people giving and receiving parenting advice. Just search for slate parenting. You can also find our live care and feeding shows on Facebook each Tuesday at 11:00 Eastern. Nicole Cliff is answering your questions. If you can’t catch it live, you can find all previous episodes on Slate’s YouTube page. Finally, we are working on a few special back to school episodes. So please send all of your school related questions to mom and dad at Slate ICOM.
S4: Let’s move on to our first listener question. Hey, here’s a puzzler for you.
S9: My clever three year old readily grasp that drinking water makes you pee, but has sharply constricted the timeline. He thinks it goes through him immediately, meaning anytime he drinks even the smallest sip of water, it’s an immediate rush to the potty or the nearest tree. It also means if he doesn’t want to pee, he refuses to drink water for hours during the day and then he wants to drink a ton before bed, meaning he is up and out of bed six times to be a drop. He is also squeezing so hard just to get a teeny bit of pee out that yesterday he pooped on the floor. Any thoughts on how to reverse engineer his knowledge so that he remembers he can drink a cup of water and pee an hour or two later her home and letter writer?
S5: I am sure that you are in agony right now, but honest to God, this is a funny, long, long time. This is impeccable kid logic. Like a kid has worked out the answer to life, to some problem that has boggled scientists forever. He has figured out how things work and he will not be dissuaded from his knowledge of how things work. And as a result, your life is hell. So, I mean, this is something that many, many parents face over and over again, not this particular problem, but problems like this in which your kid believes they understand it all and you have to convince them somehow that in fact, their understanding is completely nonsensical.
S3: So I’m tempted to suggest that you could say something like, I mean, kid, you know, when you eat food, you don’t poop right away. Right. But the result of that probably would be your kid, like eating a single goldfish cracker and immediately sitting on the toilet for like an hour. So your goal in this conversation, which I confess is like tricky. It’s stumping me a little bit with a three year old who’s not exactly like a master of logic quite yet, is to get him to make the connection between the feeling of a full bladder and the result of going to the potty. And in that way, it’s not really that different from the kinds of connections you’re asking him to make a year ago or two years ago or whenever you underwent potty training the first time.
S5: So, I mean, my first and maybe the easiest solution, though, it might be frustrating to you as someone who thought you were done with all this shit, it’s just go back to like the old sticker and reward system for whatever system you used with potty training would probably there’s some, like, residual memory of this in your kid’s mind, but instead use it to slowly expand the window between drinking and peeing. Right. Like, you start out OK if you drink water and then wait fifteen minutes to pee, you get a sticker today and tomorrow it’s 20 minutes and the next day it’s twenty five minutes. And that’s like a truly annoying process. But it’s a process that’s likely to work, probably because it worked the first time when you had to try the train the first time. But I’m very curious what you guys think, what might be some other techniques that this parent can use to solve this problem.
S6: So, Bertha, I’m twelve because I can’t stop giggling.
S10: And it reminds me of the time that I was watching Mister Rogers neighborhood and they went to Trolley Lan and I had to poop. And I had to choose between going to the bathroom and missing child land or just pooping on the floor real quick, washing and cleaning it up. So that’s exactly what I’m envisaging right now. So thank you for bringing back one of my funniest grossest childhood memories again.
S6: Love that story. I’m imagining your son thinking up himself is like a water gun or something. Like what? The wire goes in and the water must come right out. And I wonder if he’s developed some sort of anxiety or or just that thought that he doesn’t want the water to stay inside. You know, and maybe there’s a reason behind that. Perhaps you should talk to him about the fact that water is supposed to stay in, that it’s important that you keep it in for its to do its job. Like maybe talking about the role that water plays in the body could be a fascinating way to have him fixate otherwise on the process of what happens when you have a beverage as opposed to being focused on the elimination part and maybe making him feel, you know, you could imply that it is not good for him for the wire to get out too quickly, that it needs to stay, that also that’s not the water that you just drink. That’s the water that you had to squeeze out of your body that was trying to do his job from three hours ago, which is why a little bit of poop came out. But, yeah, I think maybe this will be a time for some science learning, just an exploration of what does water do? Why do we have it inside of ourselves? And hopefully being more familiar with the job of water will help him to value it and not want to eliminate it so quickly. What do you think, Elizabeth?
S4: You guys are also nice to this three year old, and I think this fan is getting weird and we’re further removed. OK. My answer is 100 hundred percent colored by my experience with Teddy, the virus. I think you’re being played by your three year olds. I mean, I think he believes this, but I believe that he finds much amusement in believing this and that as a result of this belief, you are rushing into the bathroom. He gets to get up out of bed like these hot things. That gets what all three year olds want, which is to terrorize you and get your attention.
S5: So it is a little suspicious that the only time he drinks a lot of water is right before bed.
S4: So, again, very good point. Parenting, a very sweet three year old coming from a mom of a Farrell three year olds.
S9: My child would do this completely to get attention or because other people thought this was, like, hysterical. And every time he drank the water and ran to the bathroom, his brothers laughed and we laughed and thought it was funny. That would produce this behavior over and over. So I think actually all of the suggestions, you guys are great and probably very practical. I would probably just ignore it, like not assist with bathroom breaks that happen right after drinking water. And yes, maybe you’re going to lead to some small accidents, but that to me would be preferable than like water, bathroom, water, bathroom. If he’s going outside, you can also just be like, OK, well, we just drink water outside and now you can help yourself to being. I mean, I feel like just the less attention you give to it, the less that this will continue to happen at night. To me is like the kind of the bigger issue because maybe dühring a day, it’s not a big deal. But I would just really limit liquids at night, like just set up a rule that we don’t have any liquids after whatever time, or maybe just one little cup. You know, right before bed or something like that. And then go to the bathroom as part of your nightly routine. Basically at night we have what we use is like a hall pass system. So they each have two passes and that’s two things they can come out of their room for. It doesn’t always work, but it does give us kind of a leg of like where you’ve used your two passes, go back to bed. Whatever the problem is, you shouldn’t have used your pass. That works pretty well and puts just the shut down on a lot of the post bed shenanigans. But I in my heart believe that this this three year old is running things.
S7: I, I bet you’re right here. We were so easily fooled. I know it’s a lot since I’ve since I’ve had to deal with with a manipulated by myself.
S5: Because I know that’s why this question came in on the Facebook page. And one person did have a very fun response that I have no idea how practical it would be. But their suggestion was have him eat some asparagus, then wait wait three hours, then pee and be like, look, when you put something in your body, the results happen later. Not right away.
S9: I think you should definitely try that, too. I’m all for science.
S6: Yeah. What is this Vergas do. What makes your piece now. Does it.
S5: This asparagus. Now make your peace smell. It’s a genetic reaction in many people, but not all people.
S6: Aliment. It’s something I eat pretty infrequently. My favorite veggie. I like it. Name likes it. But I have to report back.
S5: Right now I’m fever, sleep, googling asparagus smell. Black people just to make sure that it’s not that we’ve been.
S6: That’s right, melanin.
S5: It has a genetic basis, but it crosses races according to the Internet.
S9: OK, so eat some asparagus and report back. Yeah.
S11: This is definitely say about maybe all the seasoning that we use in our food. Just cooking.
S3: That’s right. White people speak smells because there’s no flavor in the Hispanic.
S6: Oh good. Yeah. I just outside garlic powder. Much more good.
S4: Well I think we’ve, we’ve solved this problem in so many other absolute segments.
S8: All right. Well, thank you so much for your question. If you have a family conundrum you’d like us to weigh in on. Send it to mom and dad at Slate dot com. Onto our second question. It’s actually a follow up from a question answered on the show last October. Dear Mom and Dad, back in October, I wrote to ask for advice about my twelve year old daughter who likes to present with masculine clothes and hair, but seem to get upset when people thought she was a boy. In February, he came out to us as a trans boy with a new name. From the minute he told us, we have been supportive and I successfully fought to get him a medical appointment to receive puberty blockers during the pandemic, we are very happy to call him by his new name and use masculine pronouns. Although we do slip up from time to time, he seems confident and happy to be out to us as his true self. But he has little to no motivation to come out to family, friends, school, sports, etc.. He is currently out to only a small subset of family members. The quarantine has also provided a cocoon of sorts. I think making it easier for him not to come out. This has resulted in a lot of confusion. If he is on his dume call with school, for example, we can’t use his new name anywhere in the house. But if he is not on a call, he gets very angry if we use his old name. We are so proud of him and I just want him to be out to everyone so we can move forward. He is working with a therapist and they are reportedly working on this goal. But whenever I asked my son if he wants to tell someone so he gets irate with me for being pushy. I feel like I can’t win here. Should I be encouraging him to come out? If so, how can I do it in a more effective manner? Well-meaning but possibly pushy. Mom, here with us now to help advise this mom is Slate’s Evan Urquhart. If you’ve commented on a Slate article, you’re familiar with Evan’s work. Welcome, Evan. Thanks. Thanks for having me. Evan, you’ve covered a lot of issues that affect trans people for Slate’s outward section. You’ve even written about how your relationship with your parents fluctuated as you experienced gender dysphoria and came out to them as a transgender man. We’ll include the link to the piece in the show notes. But what advice do you have for this mom?
S12: Yeah. So, you know, the thing that this had me thinking of is just how awkward early transition is. And, you know, I came out in my 30s and this kid is is twelve. So, yeah, me coming out in my 30s, I really didn’t want to change my name or my pronouns until I was passing as a male kind of to strangers. And ultimately, I, you know, kind of stayed closeted and was only out to people who are really close to me for about a year and then kind of felt some social pressure and finally did come out a little before I was fully ready. So, you know, it’s very normal to feel really embarrassed about this stuff as a trans person. And I would encourage the mom not to push the kid to come out before he’s ready. And just to understand that, you know, he’s twelve, he’s transitioning. It’s an awkward time. And in time he will come out and he’ll be ready and it will be fine. But I would also say it is completely OK to be really upfront with the kid that switching names and pronouns all the time is going to be hard and you might make a mistake and it might out the kid. And that’s OK, too. The kid has to understand that he’s living in a real world with people who make mistakes. And, you know, no one, you know, all twelve year olds are angry at their parents all the time. Or if they not, they will be when they’re 13. So, you know, don’t worry that the kid is irate with you all the time. That’s just normal teenage stuff. Don’t worry, if you mess up a little, it’s totally normal and OK. But I would say don’t. Don’t push the kid to come out to change names and pronouns before they’re ready.
S5: I think it’s great advice to view that the irate miss that gets expressed at moments like that, not as like some kind of special punishment for you, the mom, but instead is just an aspect of it, of extremely normal twelve year old irate ness that happens to be manifesting about this particular issue, but is also going to be manifested at you about a lot of other issues over the next couple of years. That’s really helpful. And thinking of this as a process that even for a 30 year old or a 40 year old or 50 year old can be kind of drawn out, stretch in a person’s life is really useful. I think that this mom is doing all the right. Things and as so eager for what she imagines the next part of all their lives to be, the part where she feels like she gets it right all the time, where she knows that her son is comfortable all the time, that she’s skipping past as we all so often do. The difficult part, and this is a great example of a time where you probably can’t you can’t get past the difficult part. You just have to sort of suck it up and deal with it. Absolutely.
S11: I mean, are there any suggestions that you would make for this mom in terms of resources that she could get for her son or maybe, you know, some support in terms of talking to somebody who has had these experiences because she’s trying to navigate something that she herself has not experienced, then I’m sure she wouldn’t want to in earnest and with the best of intentions, make this process more challenging for her son.
S12: So I would always recommend P flag, that’s the, you know, supportive organization for parents of LGBTQ kids. They are excellent. And that would just be my first go, too. And they would probably also her local P flag or national people. I would have a lot of other resources.
S4: She could lead to as well, as she mentioned, her sons and therapy. But I actually really think that maybe therapy should be something like she should go to as well, because this is not her journey. It’s her son’s journey. And although, you know, that has impacts on her journey and I think so often, like when your children do things that were unexpected and Dan, like you said, like departing that path and like she wants to get to the part where it’s all fine and and we’re moving forward. But navigating that, she needs some guidance, too, like she talks about that her child, like her son, is getting the guidance. But I think it’s OK for her to be confused in this to or figuring out what her role is. And the best person for that is not her son. You know, she needs to be talking to someone who can give her guidance on how to continue to be a parent, which I do think is to guide her son on coming out and being able to feel comfortable in coming out. But since I mean, Jamal, you said this and she doesn’t know what those steps are, how that feels. It’s like she needs someone in her corner to coaching her on how to be supportive. And Evan, I really love what you said. Like to just be honest with her son, too, and say, like, we’re trying, but it’s it’s hard what you’re asking us to do. And I’m really trying to understand, you know, where you want us to do what. But that’s a difficult task. And I would imagine that, like, the honesty is a big part of this. Like to go through this together, like just being honest and hopefully her son being honest with her.
S12: Yeah. Absolutely. I mean, I think you have to give your self permission to make mistakes and you have to always be challenging yourself to make fewer mistakes. We had a non binary foster teenager for a while and I did really well with the day them pronouns, but I did not get them right every single time. And I’m transgender myself. So you have to it’s not about giving yourself permission. Oh, everyone messes up. So I’m not going to try, but it is about no one overly beat yourself up. If you make a mistake, just, you know, move on. Apologize if it’s necessary briefly and then just keep trying to do your best.
S4: Are there other ways this mom could be supporting her son during this time?
S12: I think the one other thing I noticed is from this letter, and especially the first letter, is that her son is really a shy guy. And, you know, my wife is very shy. And, you know, it’s really sometimes been a challenge for me to learn that, you know, it’s someone who’s kind of very talkative and outgoing. Sometimes you just have to let someone who’s shy be quiet and take a little more time on something and just you have to learn to shut up and give them room to, you know, to when they’re ready to start to dip in and start to come out of their shell. And that it can be it can be really counterproductive to try and say things for them or, you know, step into situations and make it more comfortable for them because they just need a little extra time.
S5: I mean, it’s worth noting that this mom, you know, her sign off was, you know, maybe I’m a pushy mom. In my experience, any parent who thinks they might be pushy is definitely really pushy. And that can be a real benefit as a parent. Sometimes there are certain things in life where it helps you to have a pushy parent. But this is a case that seems very clear to me where the best thing for your son is to put away that part of yourself for a little while. And as I haven’t says, let him make his slower Scheier way along this path instead of the way that you would do it if you were doing it because you’re not doing it.
S6: I mean, I watched the documentary disclosure the other night on Netflix, which is I hope I’m not incorrect in wanting for all this people to sit with it and watch it. Even those of us who may think of themselves as being allies or an.
S11: Formed or, you know, having some basic understanding of what sort of horrible images that trans folks have been subjected to of themselves and the media throughout history, particularly, you know, prior to these last few years, where you’re starting to see positive representations of trans folks just simply living life on TV and being fully realized and dynamic human beings as opposed to, you know, some sort of tragic storyline on a CSI type show. But it it broke my heart, even though I was, you know, familiar with so much of the content that was talked about. A lot of it was, you know, from when I was a kid and things that I just would have seen, like the crying game. You know, I had no idea, like, that’s the secret of the crying game. Like Transphobia. Like, I thought it was something really fascinating and interesting and, you know, just really vile moment in cinema that has been repeated over and over again. So I was thinking for a trans child, what would be some good representations or some books and movies that you would say, you know, allow your child to see this. Like this is somewhere where they can go and feel affirmed and see themselves.
S12: So I would absolutely second everyone watching the disclosure documentary, it is so good. I watched it this weekend.
S5: And I also really want to hear your media recommendations, one that I can throw in. There are a couple of different books by a really courageous middle grade and young adult author named Kissam Calendar. They’re just a very, very good novelist. They want to stonewall or award for a book of theirs. Hurricane Child came out a couple of years ago, which is a middle grade reader. But then there’s also a brand new young adult novel called Felix Everafter, which deals with gender. And I think of really innovative way for young adult novel. I don’t want to spoil too much of it, but it’s a very, very good book. I get the author’s name is Kason Calendar.
S12: Yeah, that sounds great. You know, the one thing I can think of is all our kids have always been obsessed with YouTube. And so we often put contre points, who is the transgender YouTube or on because they like to cast YouTube videos onto our TV. And so we’ll kind of trade. And so I’ll try to get in some of those trans YouTube creators into the mix, especially like some of the positive ones, and kind of help our kids to, you know, see positive reflections of themselves in the kind of media that they’re consuming. We’ll put some links for those on the show page.
S4: Thanks, Evan, so much. Thank you for joining us, Evan.
S12: Oh, thank you so much. That was great. Had a great time.
S8: OK. Good luck and thank you for the follow up question. Listeners, if you have something you’d like to hear on the show. E-mail us. Mom and dad at Slate dot com.
S4: All right. The show isn’t over yet. It’s time for recommendations. Dan, what do you have for us?
S5: I have a great novel that I read on vacation the other week. Perfect vacation read. Also very good on contemporary motherhood. It’s a novel by Emily Gould called Perfect Tunes. It’s set in New York City basically from the year 2000 to the present. And it follows a young musician as she almost realizes her dream and then is waylaid by parenthood and then sort of very slowly finds her way back to her artistic dream. As the years go on, it’s very funny. It’s a very sweet, very smart about what being a parent is like, especially a single parent. I really like it a lot. It’s a very good novel. It’s out now. It’s called Perfect Tunes by Emily Gould.
S10: Ella. How about you? So I know a lot of folks are doing reading about issues related to race. Perhaps folks that haven’t done a lot of reading about race in the past. I have gone back to a classic text that I read very early in my feminist indoctrination that I would recommend that folks check out right now. I think it’s an important read for these times. And it’s Angela Davis as women, race and class. It is not an academic text. I’d say it’s quite easy to read. It talks about the role of African-American women in the United States dating back to slavery and just what the gender dynamics were on the plantation, the relationship between black men and black women, between black women and white women, and black in white men, and how we have continued to function in this society at the hands of both racism and sexism.
S6: So a lot of folks have heard the term intersectionality as coined by Kimberly Crenshaw in recent years. I think this is an important primer for folks that are just starting to understand what it means to live at the intersection of both gender inequity and racial disparity. So Women Race and Class by Angela Davis. That’s a great recommendation.
S11: I have a quick follow up on a recommendation for one my favorite YouTube fitness logger’s dance bit by Ashley. I recommended her channel and she sent me a very nice message on Instagram yesterday saying that a number of you guys have like subscribed. I’ve been doing the videos and let her know that you came from mom and dad. Writing and she was so touched by that. And just so incredibly sweet. So thank you for making my favorite YouTube business blogger know that I exist. And she’s sent your voice message and made me feel so special.
S4: That’s awesome.
S5: Keep it up. Bob and Ann are fighting listeners. Follow our recommendations.
S6: Yes. And let them know we sent you. It’s very gratifying.
S5: That’s so cool. Angela Davis wakes up to one hundred e-mails.
S7: Oh, goodness.
S9: Well, since I’ve been so mean to three year olds on this episode, I’m going to recommend something you can do with your three year old, which is a little game called tiny polka dot. And it’s actually good for three through eight. And it’s a no kind of comprehension game and it’s something we use in home school. But something like the kids pull out when they want to play, like on game night or anything too. And it’s a just little box of cards. And some of them have numbers on them. Some of them have dots on them. And there’s like 16 different games. You can play with them. You can also make up all kinds of stuff that the kids love it. It’s a really fun way to get them to start recognizing numbers and playing with numbers. And I know I’m always looking for things that, like I feel like good about doing what the three year old are like. I’m teaching them something, but it’s also fun. And there’s some of the games like you’re building a little no tree in their semi challenging for adult students. Some of the dots are not arranged in an easy to count way. So it’s kind of fun for you, but it’s a really fun game. It’s a deck of cards, too. So when we are able to be out and about again, it’s something that I would bring with me like to doctor’s offices and things like that for for waiting or to play in the car. So it’s called tiny poker dot. No loving, learning, fun, and that’s good. All the way up probably to about age eight.
S3: And just confirming there are no cute characters for your kids who get obsessed, react to tall.
S2: They could get obsessed about our numbers.
S13: So that’s our show one more time. If you have a question, e-mail us at mom and Dad and our post to the Slate Facebook group. Just search for Slate parenting and maybe answer all three questions when you go to join us. I think you sit in purgatory forever. So anyway, yeah, find us. Answer the question if don’t have my mom and dad are fighting is produced by Rosemary about this particular venue. And Dan, point in time is the theme.
S4: Hello, Slate plus listeners. Thank you so, so much for your support. We couldn’t do this without you. So last week I recommended grabbing up some deck railing to create outdoor car ramps. Classic Elizabeth recommendations. This thing is going to be full of them guys. It made us think it’s July. People have been cooped up. The kids have probably played with all their outdoor toys already. So we wanted to brainstorm some fun outdoor DIY ideas for people to try out. So what do you guys have?
S5: So glad that everyone has joined us here on Elizabeth plus our Elizabeth Plus segment. I hesitate to even put any of my outdoor DIY ideas up next to anything that you might do. The best thing I have to offer is just that. The one really great outdoor DIY thing that we have accomplished in recent years, which I’ve talked about on the show before, which is the transformation of our backyard into a meadow. That transformation is now complete. We have a little stone path wandering through our wildflower meadow. There’s no grass and no lawn grass in our backyard anymore. But it has turned out to be a great thing for older kids to enjoy and also occasionally to participate in. Just because we now have all these beautiful wildflowers in our backyard for older kids, there’s a lot of opportunity for just sort of meandering through the meadow, picking flowers, delivering flowers to people, helping us with sort of easy maintenance tasks. I can imagine that for younger kids joining them with the gardening, but also doing a lot of insect and bird identification in a big meadow is just like a grape forever renewing thing that you can be doing in a space like that. But that’s been our most rewarding summer outdoor DIY thing of the last few years. And it’s feels to me like a home improvement that is going to keep on giving Suzanne. Elizabeth, new camp level, but I’m pretty proud of it.
S4: No, we absolutely stole this idea from you. So we’re really. Yes. We I had all these terrible ferns that were like gonna be a home for a snake. I was sure. So I dug them all up and that’s what we did. We just put in a bunch of wildflowers under the tree and just have kind of let them recede. And when the kids, like, want to plant extra seeds, they plant them there. It’s kind of like the experimentation garden. But we’ve gotten like some native milkweed came in. And then as a result of that, we got some monarch caterpillars in there. And I agree, it’s just like awesome the amount of stuff we’re finding in there.
S5: So then you pick your brain is in there and the hate all the monarchs. Well, yeah, I think the lizards say that.
S4: I mean, I got a whole ecosystem.
S11: You know, we’re still as far as I’m concerned. We still just moved here from Sarah. Our idea of outdoor play is like chasing pizza, right? Yeah, we got nothing. We had like a little patio and. I have plants that I like. They were in the house. They weren’t doing super well. So now I’ve got the whole plant sitch going. And so I was planning to, like, take him to a nursery this week at some point, maybe actually after the show today where we could get some little plants that she could help to kill. But yeah, I don’t know, like going outdoors for me has always Mama said we’ve just been going to the playground or going to the park.
S4: So I need stuff like what do you do at the park? Because I think that’s like DIY outdoor fun too. Like if you’re not going to the playground like I do, because I feel like when we go to the park where I try to do like little scavenger hunts or look for things or.
S11: Yeah, I think it’s I think it’s partially the one kid. And like the times where I, like, taken another child, like a brother or friend. It’s kind of like, OK. They do their thing. And I’m just kind of like Superman. They would like most of our park trips have typically been like the playground. Yeah. Yeah. Or like we don’t you know, now we have these large I mean, they have them in New York too. But like, we didn’t really take advantage. Last time we went to a park was during quarantine. We like brought a tripod and set some really cute pictures together. And that was fine. That’s great. Now that’s it.
S4: That’s a DIY outdoor.
S6: Good. I can’t because I’m like this.
S5: All the amateurs have spoken. Elizabeth, what do you have to say?
S4: I made a really long list. Like how good? How can I put this down? But no, I think any kind of water play is definitely fun. And that can be anything from just like your sprinkler hooked up to if you’re anything like us. We had a bunch of TVC lying around and you got the whole episode to be like this stuff lying around our house is absurd. So we haven’t BVC lying around. We put some holes in it, hooked it up to the hose and made kind of like a car drive through. But for people. So just by poking holes in the PDC and putting the hose up to it, you can get it to kind of go up and rain down. It’s really fun for the kids to run through. So should you have just completed some kind of construction project? What the hell is this like the white pipe, the white piping, like plastic. You can hit it and make it boom wacker type thing. Speaking of which, we have a little music wall, which is just like stuff I found at the junk store or people in the neighborhood are throwing away. Yes. I’m not person. If you said it out, we have probably picked it up and we mounted it on a fence and the kids can use sticks and stuff to make all kinds of fun noise. And that is loud but keeps them entertained and they do all kinds of musical shows. You should hang that away from where you intend to sit. That would be my advice.
S3: Close to the neighbors is the best place for that.
S4: Yes. Thank you. Yeah. We luckily we did hang it on the side of our very, very sweet neighbors as opposed to our more curmudgeonly neighbors. I also really like like bringing blocks and road and any of your indoor toys outside. And they kind of have a whole new life. Particularly things that can be like washed off. But the kids love to, like, build things kind of in the garden. If you have a patch that’s not growing, we like to just fill that with water and let them have mud play with some tracks. If you have gravel in your yard, that’s another great place for trucks or cars to drive through. The girls that come over to play, I also love bringing like Barbies and stuff to slop to splash around in the mud puddles and they clean off pretty well. So that can be fun, just like using a space that you have. I also really love building treehouses. We’ve built some kind of tree house and I’m not talking like Jeff has now built here. Like let Henry design something and they built a proper tree house. But prior to that, we literally just nailed some old wood to the trunk of the tree. So the kids could climb up it and then just like wedged a board and there that plus like a pulley. Hours of fun for the kids in the tree. And just like the plans they have for that and bringing sticks and making lean to for. So I think there’s like so much you can do just with the natural stuff that’s around. There’s also I like copy just like copy pictures from a book and then let the kids make outfits for the whatever picture out of stuff they find in the yard, which is really fun. And you can tuck that in your purse and bring it to a park. So they’re like making little dress up out of dolls. I’ll post a picture of that because no one’s gonna know what I’m talking about.
S5: As I’ve been walking around the neighborhood, I’ve really enjoyed the enormous amount of chalk art that is now prevalent on every street and every sidewalk in my neighborhood. And I think that kids are really currently outdoing themselves with chalk art in a time of less traffic in the streets and more time on kids’ hands. And so finding ways to incorporate that into your kid’s play is really a great time killer as well.
S4: And chalk is super cheap and you can check on anything that you don’t mind putting water on. So, like, if you’d brick walls, brick walls, fences, work like even a patio that you don’t mind. Clashing with water like the like beauty of the outdoor play is that there’s so many less limits, like the kids can do so much more. And other than maybe like falling or, you know, something like that, they’re there. There’s so much less like they can ruin or less rules you have to put in place. And again, I find like if I go out and I get involved in the play first, then I can usually, like, back off and go read my book and let them run around and be crazy. And, you know, someone’s bound to get stabbed by a stick.
S5: But other than that or the ships ride that or the ship, I was gonna say, is everything OK?
S11: Like Elizabeth, do you have anything else for parents that don’t have a backyard in addition to, like, bringing toys with?
S4: Yeah, absolutely. So there’s so many great resource on the Internet. But one of our favorite things is like a doing any kind of scavenger hunt. And I don’t mean just like so you could do colors, you could just say, like find something rad, find if you have Chuck with you and you draw that on the ground or just, you know, a couple of crayons and a piece of paper and finding something for each. I also will say like find something that’s harder than a baseball and then they all run off and bring stuff back. And then we all like judge, which it is, or we bring those things home with, you know, assuming everything is organic, like something larger than your hand. You know, those sort of things that they can go find and are tangible and you have them like running away from you and running back. That’s usually a goal of outdoor play. Right. Is making them go do something and come back. There’s also a wonderful little site called its Youth Squad, and they have these little badges and the badges are for purchase. But each badge has like a activity associated with it. And you can just download these for free. And it has so many options. They’re all like service oriented, but there are garden ones and birding ones and none of them really require any supplies. So like you, it can say, like, here’s a site to look up birds in your area, then go for a walk and find these. Here’s like Lei and do your cloud, you know, looking at clouds and what kind of pictures do you see and making up stories. Those are all things that I think you can really do anywhere and is like a lot of fun. And your kids will remember that just because you didn’t have, you know, like a space to do that. And a lot of these things can be done in a public space, like you can go to a park and collect sticks and build a little lean to like if you have a park that has some woods in it, you can do any of this play with sticks or with leaves or things that you’re finding there, you know, and then just like kick it over before you leave or leave it for some other kid to find, you don’t necessarily have to have your own space to do a lot of these things.
S5: Can I just tell a quick story that will help our listeners understand why the new camp house is more fun than my house or any other house? We visited the new camps once last year down in Florida, and one day I walked out and Jeff was in the garage just like sighing things and hammering shit together. And I was like, what are you what are you doing? And he’s like, Oh, I’m making a driveway game. And I was like, Well, what’s the game? He was like, well. And then he takes these like two by fours and he puts one longest to my floor driveway on top of another, very short two by four. So it makes it like sort of a lever. And then he put another piece of wood on the end of the two i4 and then he set up three buckets about 15 feet away. And he was like, if you stop on the end of this, to buy for the piece of wood will fly in the air and maybe it will land in one of the buckets.
S3: And so then all three boys came out and my kids and we spent like a Mary hour, just braining each other with a two by four year over and over again as we tried to get it in the buckets. I think that’s every day at the new camp house. That’s what life is.
S4: It really is. I mean, I do think when I got involved, I replaced the piece of wood with something soxer to LUDs, but we spent an hour launching. Yes. Oh, yes. The wood was definitely I think until I realized that one might get hurt. We just love to experiment and play and build stuff and see what happens. And I think now all three of those launchers are Brigden from too much stomping. And that’s I mean, that’s why we have Extra would like it goes into the extra wood bucket.
S3: And while we were so inspired by that to never, ever do anything like it, but instead took baby come back and visit you again sometime, you said perfect.
S4: You also covered something else dangerous to do, something new. But I think whatever you do, like if you can get outside, get outside and, you know, kids also like we’ll just come up with things. So I think just don’t be so scared of them thinking it’s it’s dangerous and engage in a little bit of play. And if you think of some crazy idea, just do it. What could go wrong. A lot to look at government as well. So we’re going to go right outside. Nothing. All right. Well, that’s it for this week’s Slate plus segment. Until next time.