To worry or not to worry…..

Did you ever notice that parents these days seem to worry about stuff they shouldn’t bother with and completely disregard the stuff that should concern them?  I was listening to the radio this morning and Lenore Skenazy from Free Range Kids was on the air.  She was talking about the stories on her blog (love the blog, by the way) about the crazy lengths to which folk will go to “protect” kids.  Like stopping midway through The Cat in the Hat to point out to the kids that “no real mother would leave their kids alone at home”.  How crazy!

It got me thinking.  On the way to school my daughter was telling me about a conversation she had had with her 12-year-old cousin the night before.  She said her cousin’s text signature was “I love Brandon” or something like that.  When she asked her cousin who this “Brandon” was, she was told it was her boyfriend!   Personally, I find this appalling, but I seem to be in the minority.

After I heard the stories on the radio, I started thinking how crazy it is that we will kick a kid out of school for having a nerf gun (after all, imagine the damage THAT could do), but we are fine when our 12-year-old starts dating.  In fact, most parents I talk to find it cute.  Honestly, what are we coming to!  Let your kids play with nerf guns, let them go for a bike ride without armour, and let them eat cake, for goodness sake!  But I draw the line at boyfriends and girlfriends.  If kids start dating at 12, what will they be ready for at 16?  Dating will be old hat!

And to compound matters, this is the age that “real mothers” have no problem leaving their kids at home alone.  And may I point out here that there will be no Cat in the Hat to supervise?

Could we please put the silliness aside and worry about stuff that might actually matter in a few years time?  And perhaps stop protecting kids from stuff they can learn from?  Perhaps a little common sense might be called for here – of course, that is not taught in schools these days and many parents seem to have forgotten what it is…..

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College Afternoon

I had a really nice afternoon yesterday.  I had intended to write a post, and had even started it, when my daughter asked if we could look over her emails from colleges.  My daughter is soon to be 16, a sophomore in high school, and normally spends free time in her room, texting or skyping friends or doing homework.  Some afternoons she barely sticks her head out.  So it was kind of a special occasion.

Anyhow, my daughter is a pretty driven kid.  She has always known what she wanted and has always gone for it with gusto.  She is more like her father that way.  (I am sorry to say she certainly didn’t get drive from me!)  She has known forever that she wants to be a writer, so she is determined to find a college that will help her get there.

Now I have done all this before.  My son, a budding musician, just started his freshman year.  So I have read all the emails, sorted through the view books and brochures, visited schools, asked questions and learned the process pretty well.  As my son was so busy with school and music, I did most of the behind-the-scenes work myself until we got to the visiting and applying stage.  He was really too busy to worry about all of it.  Not so, my daughter.

She is also a very busy kid.  She just isn’t going to let that get in the way of finding a good school.  My son was content to leave the research to me.  He told me what he wanted (sort of) and I figured out where to look.  He narrowed it down and made the final decisions.  My daughter wants to be involved right up front.  I couldn’t be more delighted.

So we spent the afternoon looking through some emails she’s been getting and I pulled out some college books and we tried to start of list of potential schools to look at.  We found some pretty impressive looking creative writing programs.  We even found a program run by a woman who wrote the book that inspired my young 6 year old daughter to write in the first place.  I believe we will look closer at that school!

A good place to start...

So for any of you out there with high school aged kids, this college search thing can go many ways.  I have heard all kinds of stories and many variations on the theme.  The bottom line is, let the kid lead the way.  They will know how much they want to be involved, and how much they want you to be involved.  It is a different world than it was when I was a kid.  The information is bountiful and easy to get, which makes the choices harder to make.  But any way you do it, the process can be fun, uplifting, inspiring if you let it.  It may seem like a nightmare at times, but if you start early enough, you will get through with some nice memories and maybe only a little craziness.  And if you are lucky, a nice snow day afternoon or two!

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Welcome to Bonbons and Baileys!  This is my humble attempt at a chronicle of my transition from full time stay-at-home mom to something else entirely, only time will tell what.

My son went off to college this year and my daughter is a sophomore in high school, so I am at that point where everyone asks what I will do with myself once the kids are gone.  And to be honest, I don’t have an answer.  Yet.  So I’ll be figuring it out here, with help from readers, with any luck.

As for chocolate recommendations, it being close to Valentine’s Day – I’ll go with an old standby of mine – Dove Dark – hearts.  The sayings are corny and overdone, but the chocolate is quite yummy.  Enjoy!


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