"She was young, clearly younger than I was, and so thin that her cheap shift hung on her like a leaf on a branch in November. Timidly, she offered up a large, battered cooler to the nurse in attendance, explaining that it contained bottles of the breastmilk she had pumped every four hours around the clock for her baby. And then she settled in to the rocking chair next to her daughter and began speaking to her in a low, shy voice, heavily accented with what I recognized as the regional patois of southern Appalachia..."

READ MORE of my newest Loco Parentis essay and let me know what you think.

Sometimes the way foreigners don't "get" America and Americans really makes me chuckle. They try, especially when it comes to pop culture ( my half-French husband once saw a t-shirt in a Paris boutique with the famous picture of Marilyn Monroe's skirt blowing up silk screened on it. The t-shirt read in English: "The wind, what a terrible trick she is!" ).

And so when I saw this story the other day about how Iranians are "accusing" Bush of being some kind of cowboy, I was heartily amused. My first reaction was, "so what?" Don't Iranians (by the way, it just so happens that some of my best friends are Iranian.Really.) realize that calling someone a "cowboy" in the United States is hardly pejorative? In fact, it's a compliment? Cowboys are strong, brave, remarkably self-sufficient, free-thinking individuals. In short, cowboys are the kind of folks we Americans tend to like and thus, elect to office.

Those Iranian name-callers should read some of Mary O'Hara's books, like My Friend Flicka. Or maybe they could spend a week this summer on an American dude ranch learning to ride and herd cattle. In any event, they need to come up with something more effective with Americans to insult Bush, like maybe "that no-good Ted Bundy" or "that SOB Stalin." Calling him a cowboy really doesn't achieve the desired effect.


Has anyone else noticed how much D.C. Police Chief Ramsey looks like a grown up Ralph Wiggum?
Congratulations and warmest wishes to Marianne Pearl on the birth of her son this week in Paris.


I agree completely with Glenn Reynolds of InstaPundit in his column for Fox News on teenagers and sex He makes the excellent point that we have infantilized teenagers in our culture and that the traditional high school has become obsolete. This is a view that unschoolers such as John Holt and Grace Llewelyn (author of The Teenage Liberation Handbook) have been trying to make for decades now.
According to this very interesting article by Richard Florida in the new Washington Monthly, "...cities without gays or rock bands are losing the economic development race." Florida makes a strong case for the growing influence of the "Cultural Creatives"
I have always been intrigued by the writer Germaine Greer. If you read her books, dating all the way back to the sixties, you will discover that she was the original grrlpower, third-wave feminist, long before Bust and Bitch came on the scene. I haven't always agreed with her positions on specific issues (female circumcision being one of them), but I think she has taken a really noteworthy stance in refusing to participate in an upcoming writers' festival in England because it is underwitten by Nestle'. Despite years of pressure from consumers and health advocacy groups all over the world, Nestle continues to try to convince mothers in the Third World that they should abandon breastfeeding for one of their commercial infant formulas. Lack of breastfeeding is a leading contributor to infant mortality rates, particularly in underdeveloped nations. Kudos to Ms. Greer.

Last summer, my three year old was hospitalized with viral meningitis, probably (according to the health department) caused by a mosquito bite. We have many, many mosquitos here in east Tennessee, and if you hate them like I do, you might find this
clinical review
of the effectiveness of a variety of available commercially insect repellents useful and interesting.


NOTE TO FOX NEWS TV CORRESPONDENTS: Please stop referring to Ms. Chandra Levy as "Chandra." You didn't know this adult woman personally and she's dead. I find the many on-air reporters calling Ms. Levy by her first name profoundly disrespectful to both her memory and her surviving family.

On the other hand, if you feel like calling Gary Condit "Gary", I'm all for that.
I actually wasn't able to read all the way through this incredible NYT feature detailing phone and email communications after the planes hit from individuals who died on 9/11 inside the World Trade Center towers. I ended up weeping. It's a terrific piece of reporting and another example of what I mentioned HERE.
This is a really unusual NYT op-ed piece by a Republican former aide to Bob Dole on what conservatives don't know about poverty.
A beautiful reminder that the experience of motherhood is universal
I have always sort of hidden one particular dirty little secret about myself: I am a name snob. I pass judgment on people based on what they name their kids. I hate being like this, but I just can't seem to get rid of this ugly prejudice.I was happy to read that I am not alone. Fellow mama-blogger, Jordana Adams struggles with this as well.

If you must know, my own kids are named :

Henry Louis Granju (called Henry and named after three generations of grandfathers. How could I have known in 1991 that Henry would become the name of choice for Hollywood's hipster parents, who needed something to replace the overworked faves, Max and Sam.)

Elizabeth Jane Chevillard Granju ( Named after French and American great grandmothers, and called Jane. We have yet to meet another little Jane. Her monogram is a bit tough to get on stuff though )

Elliot Robert Castrillon Granju (called Elliot. Since everyone in my family has incredibly dull names like Catherine, Elizabeth and Thomas, John, and James, the name Elliot -- chosen for no particular reason other than the fact that we liked it -- is still considered a rather daring and unconventional choice by my elderly relatives. When I informed her what we had decided to name the baby, my grandmother told me that "the name Elliot is only suitable for a gay actor-type in a P.G. Wodehouse novel" Then she gave me a look of haughty disgust.)



I've just had a blog offering a scathing indictment of attachment-style parenting pointed out to me. The blog-guy names my work specifically in criticizing attachment parenting --reasonably so, since I wrote a book about it and speak/write frequently on the topic. I would love to engage this person in a dialogue regarding this topic, but it would be pretty difficult to do since his own description of attachment parenting is so completely inaccurate and far out in left field.

I have a suggestion for Mr. Bennett. Why doesn't he read my book before deciding to critique it? If he can't find the time to do that, maybe he would like to read an interview with me on the topic of attachment parenting. Here is one possibility and here is another.

It's too bad that he can't meet my attachment parented children, all of whom are polite, kind, accomplished and well-liked by kids and adults who know them. They would be very surprised indeed to hear Mr. Bennett's description of them as rude and worse. They would also be quite surprised to hear that attachment parenting equals a permissive, child-centered family setting. since that is far from what they are experiencing in our household.
My sincerest thanks to kind-hearted and technically adept blogger, Matt Moore for going to a lot of trouble on my behalf and fixing a number of problems I was having on this page. Thanks Matt :-)
How is it possible that Chicago has had a law banning handguns since 1982? Can someone clue me in as to whether there have been Constitutional challenges to this law? And how big a coincidence is it that this guy's name is actually "John Birch"?
My husband and I just returned from an overnight trip to a B&B in the Mountains -- about an hour from our house. My husband was happy because I agreed to travel in one of his many Fiats, which he seems to like to drive fast on windy mountain roads. Anyway, we had a great time and the innkeepers were incredibly nice. I was a bit worried when we first walked in that I would hate it because the decor was country-crafty to the extreme -- something that generally makes my skin break out in hives -- but the overall experience was so nice that I quickly overcame my reservations. (One strange thing was that the over-the-top Victorian chintz floral wallpaper in our room looked a lot like a bunch of evil monkeys -- maybe Mojo Jojo. That was my sort of rorschach impression anyway. It was rather unnerving until I got used to it.)

The views at this inn were so incredible and their desserts (English trifle!) and breakfast were fab. We tried several new restaurants while we were in the area. One is rather famous; it's called the Greenbrier. The setting and views were terrific but we both found the food pretty mediocre. We ate lunch at the Fox and Parrot Pub in the arts and crafts community just outside Gatlinburg. We just happened upon the place, and since my Jungian folk memories (as well as happy days spent living in London while in college) have made me a rabid Anglophile, I made Chris stop. It's a cabin set back in the woods -- you can't see it from the road, and it was just great. I had the best fish and chips I have ever tasted in this country (we saw the bar guy/owner getting beer for the batter from his tap while he was cooking) and a cherry tart, as well as two pints of Ten Pinte Ale from the nearby Rocky River Brewery. The Rocky River brewmaster just happened to be sitting at the bar when we got there, so he recommended a particular beer to me. It was a really superlative light pale ale. The menu had all kinds of my favorite pub grub I want to go back to have, including Welsh rabbit, bubble and squeak, shepherds pie and cornish pasties. Yum.