Five years ago, newly facing the prospect of having our idiosyncratic and spirited 3-year-old son psychologically assessed, I skeptically wondered how a complete stranger and a battery of tests could…ever reflect his personality and spirit. We had brought him to the Los Angeles office of Dr. Rita Eichenstein after repeated concerned conversations with his much beloved teacher and the preschool director. A friend had read several mentions of Dr. Eichenstein on a parenting listserv, and after considering a handful of other recommended neuropsychologists, I… >> Read More
Being a very young kid in Southern California in the 1970s meant lots of beach time. It also meant minimal bathing suit wearing until around the age of 4 or so.
No one made anything of…it. Maybe my grandparents had seen everything during the many summers spent in the crush of humanity on Coney Island, and a couple of naked small kids was par for the course. My parents have family photos of one particular beach excursion with visiting relatives, our smartly solar-phobic Great Aunt Lil completely covered up while… >> Read More
"You know everyone!" I once gushed to my aunt after she exchanged hellos with a familiar face at a Tom Thumb grocery store in Dallas. She shrugged in response. "Well, I've lived here a long…time." That hardly happened where we lived. Los Angeles during the 1980s was easier to navigate, since less traffic compared to today meant the city felt open for exploring. Beach every weekend? Sure! But our lives were a series of anti-local, community-defying tradeoffs. None of my school friends lived nearby. We'd drive miles to go… >> Read More
"What is that?" our 6-year-old son asked, as he made a beeline towards the curious box propped against the wall. The kids were wandering around a cool freshly renovated motel room we had just…checked into, doing their usual assessment and getting the lay of the land within the couple square 100 feet that would be home for one night. To them, the dusty mechanism propped above a portable speaker and topped with a rotating wheel and a moveable arm had an intense appeal, as did the collection of… >> Read More
As in all parts of the country, cars in California are used as vehicles--so to speak--for brandishing school pride. Graduates of USC, UC campuses, the many Cal States, Stanford, and other places of…higher education give nods to their west coast alma maters. Yet now there's another genre of institution affiliation symbol, one that starts much earlier than college: elementary school. And not your garden variety "My Child Is an Honor Student" genre of bumper sticker. Those are downright quaint in the context of current parenting culture. Instead… >> Read More
There are two kinds of people in the world: Camp People, and Non-Camp People.
In his newest book,
The Secrets of Happy Families
, author Bruce Feiler definitely comes across as a Camp Person.
In…the pages of The Secrets of Happy Families, Feiler approaches his research and fieldwork with all the optimism and resourcefulness of a senior counselor. He reaches out to experts in various fields in a Freakonomics -esque attempt to debunk conventional wisdom about what makes a functional family, and challenge some widely held beliefs about mundane… >> Read More