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Parenthesis: The Best Of The Mom And Dad Blogs This Week

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This week in Parenthesis, Rebecca Woolf cops to birthday-planning paralysis, Kristen Howerton throws a thorny question out to her community and more.

"How much longer will she want to sleep next to me?"
There's something about bedtime that makes moms and dads extra philosophical (when they’re not busy playing Whack-a-Mole, that is). A recent nighttime snuggle inspired HuffPost blogger Devon Corneal to reflect on her son's forgotten "lasts" -- "the last time his hair was baby soft and curly, or the last time he crawled," for instance -- and Liz Gumbinner struck a similar chord in a lovely post on Mom-101 this week, describing bedtime with her sick 7-year-old and posing some cosmic questions: "How much longer will she want to sleep next to me? How much longer will she hug me and squeeze me like a girl in love? How much longer will she need me like this?"

"I used to [get] so annoyed at every parent who looked down at my young babies and advised, it will go so fast.... Now I can’t stop thinking when I look at young babies, it will go so fast," she writes, adding: "I try to only say it out loud half of the time."

Attachment anxiety
In a post on Rage Against the Minivan, Kristen Howerton talks through something she's wrestled with recently: the question of whether to tell her adopted son's teacher about attachment-related problems she's observed in the past.

"On the one hand," she writes, "I didn’t want to give Kembe a prophecy of bad behavior with the teacher ... On the other hand, attachment-related issues are so freaking subtle to the uninitiated, and tend to get progressively worse.... Behaviors that seem relatively benign often have big meaning behind them, and big consequences if they aren’t kept in check, or if attention is given in the wrong way."

The frank and straightforward -- but sensitive -- attitude with which she addresses this issue makes her conclusions (and unanswered questions) a rewarding read for people on all sides of the complicated teacher-student-parent-peer relationships she describes.

An anti-bullying bibliography
For Bullying Prevention Month, Andy of Dinner: A Love Story has posted a brief but thoughtfully curated reading list that emphasizes empathy. His young daughters, Abby and Phoebe, bestow their stamp of approval on each title and give him a hand in explaining the books’ messages with short but sweet reviews. And dad suggests using the books not just for individual reflection but also as fodder for “dinner table discussions on the idea of walking a mile in someone else’s shoes."

Guilt trip
"[A]lthough there have been plenty of times when I've felt like a badass in the mom department," Rebecca Woolf writes at Girl's Gone Child, "today has not been one of them." In her post, Woolf admits that she has done “nothing” in preparation for her daughter’s upcoming birthday, adding that she feels guilt not only for "being a terrible organizer" but also (among other things) for "wishing I could hire someone to do the whole thing for me." It’s not just a birthday-party problem, either. "Planning for the future has always paralyzed me," she writes with unflinching honesty. "It's why everything in my life has happened sort of on accident. All of the good things. All of the bad things. Whoops, there it is. All of it. Bam."

And now for something completely different...
As the "dog-shaming" meme has made its way around the web, it’s inspired various other incarnations -- including a number of mom blog riffs (e.g. the series of “baby-shaming” photos recently captured by Ilana Wiles of Mommy Shorts and her readers). Susan of Divine Secrets of a Domestic Diva is a fan of the funny-picture trend ("There’s plenty of doggy destruction, but clearly lots of humor and taking things in stride from the owners, which I love and can totally appreciate," she explains), but she's aware that others might take umbrage at her own attempt to single out her dog for playing around with an ink pad. So "to shush the naysayers," she’s jumped into the spotlight, too, taking herself to task in a self-styled “Mom Shaming” shot that's funny -- and only fair.

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