Moxie Mom On Life and Kids

MOXIE MOM on Life & Kids

The Un-Party Animal

Leah invited a few girls for a sleepover last weekend to celebrate her 13th birthday. She’s been a fan of sleepover parties since she was about 9—every year she wants to do it again—and I like them because they’re cheap and she has nice friends.

The problem is that as kids get older, they stay up later, and at 13 they’re capable of staying up into the wee hours of the morning (thankfully, they haven’t graduated to sneaking out yet). Four o’clock is not unusual.

Leah’s ability to stay up late, however, has not evolved with her age, and in fact she’s going to bed at the same time she did when she was 9. She gets up just as early, too. Sleeping in does not seem to be a part of her body chemistry, although I can still hope, and her schedule is increasingly at odds with her social life.

After her friends left, I asked her what time she fell asleep, and whether she was the first one.

“I was the first asleep,” she admitted, “At around 1:45am.”

Whoa, a record I believe. Was she bugging her friends to be quiet and turn off the lights all night?

“Uh, yeah.”

“How did they react? Of course they didn’t want to go to sleep, right?”

“No.” And then in a burst, “I just don’t get why people want to stay up late. I mean it wrecks your whole day the next day and you feel bad and I just don’t understand why people like to do it.”

I can just picture it now: Leah’s friends ready to play Wii through the night or watch a marathon session of movies or do anything at all but bed down, and Leah, the party hostess, admonishing them to be quiet so she can sleep. The social equivalent of pub crawling with your friends and then deriding them for buying too many drinks and not considering the next day’s hangover. Yeah, big barrel of fun. On the other hand, it’s hard not to feel sorry for her when you see her doing her best to stay awake, her face pale and haggard, blue circles forming under her eyes.

She comes by it honestly. Her dad hits the hay every night at the same time, rarely varying his bedtime. And I still remember the Thames boat cruise I did in my twenties with a crowd of Aussie friends who bought round after round until at one point I blearily realized I had six drinks in front of me and it was my “shout” at last and I could barely make my way to the bar, let alone snarf six drinks (needless to say, I did not buy myself another one). No one could have accused me of not trying, though.

But I didn’t feel any hint of ill will or irritation toward Leah on Sunday morning, although I wouldn’t have blamed the girls if they were. So maybe she didn’t badger them as much as I envisioned. Or maybe she did, and they were just too polite to show how they felt. I wouldn’t be surprised if it were the latter.

“You know, sweetie,” I said gently, “Maybe sleepovers aren’t the best choice for you anymore. You and I both know you don’t like staying up late.”

Leah smiled sheepishly. “Yeah, I know.”

“Maybe you need to have a party where everyone goes home at 10:00pm.”

She smiled more broadly, imagining, I suspect, how good it would feel to celebrate her birthday and still go to bed at her preferred time. What an idea.

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Banker Boy

Yesterday, Ty told me he plans to open a bank for his friends. As in at our house. Presumably in his room.

“Really,” I said. “And why would your friends want to bank with you? What will you offer?”

“I’m going to charge them a fee to deposit their money, like, a dollar per ten dollars. And then they will earn interest. The more they invest, the more they earn. Say, two dollars a month every month. Doesn’t that sound like a good idea?”

His plan was quite a bit more complicated than how I just summed it up, but I couldn’t keep all the fees and benefits straight. There were quite a few. Ty was quite excited about the loan service he plans to offer, as well as the fees he might earn if his friends didn’t pay back the loan in good time. Personally, I can’t help thinking his friends are going to lose out.

“What happens if all your friends want to withdraw their money all at once?” I asked.

“Well, they can’t just do that. I mean, you would never get everyone going to bank to withdraw all their money.”

“But if I wanted to empty our savings account, I could do that. I could go to the bank and take all the money out.”

“But that’s because they have lots of people’s money and they have enough to cover your savings.”

“Right, but what if all your friends want all their money at once? That’s what happened during the stock market crash at the beginning of the Great Depression.”

“Really? What are stocks exactly, anyway?”

And that was the beginning of another conversation.

I hope he forgets about the bank.

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Diggin’ Digs

Have you been to Digs on the corner of Holly and Commercial? I went in there recently to buy an eco-travel mug—ceramic rather than metal and plastic—and fell in love with the children’s section. Only I don’t have really young children anymore so I’ll have to content myself with baby shower gifts.

I was impressed with the kids’ books they had, including a beautiful gardening-with-kids book, and the toys, and the bedding, and the glass baby bottles with silicone sleeves to prevent easy breakage. Glass bottles weren’t even on my radar when my kids were babies–in fact, I don’t think they existed 12 years ago–but if I had a baby now, I’d probably have her drinking from glass like in the old days. Most stuff, like I said, is for the younger set, but Leah does have her eye on the waste-free lunch box–the older kids’ version of avoiding plastic.

So, if you’re looking for something a little different, probably organic, and you haven’t been to Digs, I recommend checking it out.

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