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Stephanie Gruner Buckley

My daughter used to be an artist. She would spend hours in the TV room, not watching TV, but on the floor surrounded by scraps of paper, beads and string, making collages and jewelry, or copying cartoon characters into notebooks.

She loved to sew. With a needle and thread, she would make dresses and hats and shoes for her dolls. Before I got around to buying her fabric, she used construction paper. My brother gave her a small wooden artist manikin one Christmas. She made clothes for that too.

She wasn’t allowed TV on school days, but we were lax…

Managing the To Do list

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Photo by Kyle Arcilla on Unsplash

I’m most productive when I have much to do.

Take today for example. Here’s my To Do list, and keep in mind it’s relatively short given Covid and the fact that we hardly leave the house.

  1. Send work invoice
  2. Finish editing work story
  3. Start editing second work story
  4. Find more editing work
  5. Remind child about singing lesson
  6. Cook breakfast, lunch, and dinner
  7. Do laundry
  8. Read one zillion emails from child’s school
  9. Walk dog
  10. Call Microsoft about child’s glitchy computer
  11. Call Vodafone to get better overseas calling deal following surprise £200 bill
  12. Buy window and toilet cleaner
  13. Finish book club book

Nursing babies and other airport challenges

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Photo by 褚 天成 on Unsplash

It’s not my finest hour as a mother: 6 a.m. at the Munich airport after flying all night.

I’m desperate to feed and change our baby in some semblance of privacy (this was long before Covid-19), but the Lufthansa lounge receptionist is blocking our way. Since Lufthansa “outsourced” its frequent flier program, she explains with a grim little smile, she’ll need a pin code to access my husband’s member information. He has neither frequent flier card, nor pin code.

“So what you’re saying,” I say, as my ravenous baby rips off my shirt, “is that you can’t help us because…

Kids return to school in London

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Photo by Sincerely Media on Unsplash

My friend Marina posted on Facebook that she’s going to miss her two boys when they return to school in a week. I wonder if I can honestly say the same.

What I will miss most is sleeping later, and not having to be up and out the door by 7 a.m. to get my daughter to her school bus.

But will I truly miss her going to school in her bedroom? My daughter only partly engaging in her studies and desperately missing her friends. Me playing on-call cook, teaching assistant and tech support. I don’t think so.

Marina’s post…

The stuff kids are sold on social media

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Photo by Chelse Daniel on Unsplash

A friend’s teenage daughter wants to inject Botox under her arms to stop herself from sweating. The scary thing — and there are many scary things about this — is that at 14 she’s thinking about Botox or armpits at all.

She heard about this procedure not from a friend or on TikTok or even YouTube. It popped up on her screen as an ad, in the way that promotions for comfy slippers and hip flexibility exercises pop up on mine.

My own daughter, at 12, is totally into makeup. She’s a huge fan of YouTube celebrity James Charles and…

Baby diets aren’t what they used to be

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Photo by Derek Owens on Unsplash

I’m off to my friend Monica’s house for a playdate. She’s asked me to return the Annabel Karmel baby cookbook I borrowed months earlier. I crack it open for the first time just before I go. Thank God I didn’t look earlier. I could have suffered months of guilt over all the fabulous meals I’m not making my child.

Braised beef with sweet potato, butternut squash risotto, banana with tofu puree, baby’s first beef casserole. Why not just make the kid a soufflé?

While the babies wrestle over toys, I ask Monica what she feeds her daughter. She lists the…

Putting off parenthood

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Photo by ketan rajput on Unsplash

Let’s start with why I’m an old mom. I was busy. I was a journalist. I didn’t want to change diapers or stay home at night. Then one day, I woke up at 40 and said to my husband, “It’s now or never.”

Miraculously, five months later, the time was now.

THE GOOD

I know who I am

I was incredibly lucky to have a baby — as I saw it — right under the wire. Then I became a mom and realized that having a child later in life has its advantages. Unlike in my 20s and 30s, in my 40s, I knew who I was…

A public brawl at an elite British boarding school

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Shutterstock

Let’s start with the facts. A teacher posts a controversial video for students. The school repeatedly asks him to take it down. He repeatedly refuses. He’s fired. So what, you say?

Well, all this happens at Eton College, the all-male boarding school of British privilege, princes and future prime ministers. And the teacher has made this a battle of free speech against woke culture. Not surprisingly, all hell breaks loose.

Will Knowland, 35, is the teacher at Eton responsible for the lecture. …

Getting along with other parents

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Photo by Frida Bredesen on Unsplash

It started with a simple question: Was her daughter meeting mine at the park?

My daughter, 11, is finally old enough to make her own plans. She meets friends at the park where she first slid down a slide, dug in a sandpit, and fed bread to ducks in a pond. The park is particularly convenient, given that with Covid-19, children can’t go to each other’s homes. They can, however, be outside with one other kid. I don’t go to, but I do contact the other mother to confirm the plans. I don’t want my daughter alone at the park.

A welcome move or business as usual?

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Photo by Sincerely Media on Unsplash

News from China: The government is banning mobile phone use in classrooms, according to a Ministry of Education annoucement on Feb. 1. If students must bring smart phones to school, they will require a written request from parents and consent from school authorities, and then the phones will be kept by administrators.

Countrywide bans on cellphones in schools are rare. The French government banned mobile phones in classrooms for students under 15, and Greece no longer permits them in nursery, primary and middle schools.

In the US, rules are more ad hoc. Classroom bans on digital devices range from keeping…

Stephanie Gruner Buckley

Writer, editor, parent. Concerned about the world around us. Former staffer at Quartz, WSJ and Inc. magazine.

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