“The literary equivalent of a summer night, a good friend and a gin-and-tonic: Shannon is a deft writer; a natural storyteller with a wicked turn of phrase and frighteningly specific memory...”

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Kids and Parents

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The Anti-Thanksgiving

Today, in an effort to prove my Mavericism — a phrase first coined by Tom Cruise when he played Maverick in that cinematic masterpiece Top Gun — I’m bucking the trend and going anti-Thanksgiving by itemizing the things I’m NOT GRATEFUL

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My Name Is Tom

Last week I picked my daughters and a friend of theirs up from school. We made a pitstop at our favorite taco truck in front of a car wash on Westwood and Santa Monica Boulevards. As we waited in line

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How I Ended Up Holding A Package of Brains

Why You Should Support Public Education I was a little startled to find myself holding a package containing twelve vacuum-packed brains last Wednesday. “Please tell me these aren’t what I think they are,” I asked Mr. Bishop, a sixth grade

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The Surprising Thing That Happened When I Parented Someone Else’s Child?

When other people’s children are in my care I treat them like they’re mine. I didn’t used to do this, but I’ve had kids for 11 years now, so I’m battle tested. I bear the scars of having my children

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Yea, Though I Walk Through The Valley Of Lice

It hath come to pass that a plague hath beset the Colleary family whereupon we were ravaged by lice. No, they were not any of the particular louses that Shannon hath, in the past, lain with like the Whore of

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What Happened When I Said “No” To My Daughter

My daughters’ snuggles are my form of crack. On a biochemical level, my body sinks into a deeper calm when I hold them. And it doesn’t seem to matter that they’re at that no-man’s land between toddlerdom and teendom, where

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When Your Daughter Hits Below The Belt

It seemed like an ordinary night. There were no harbingers of doom — A murder of black crows on the telephone wires outside. A vanity mirror broken jaggedly down its center. A ladder with someone under it.  No, all was

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My Shiksa Daughters Want to be Jewish

We went to a Bar Mitzvah Saturday. You would have thought we’d asked our tween Shiksa daughters to shave their heads and flap their arms when they walked. T he caterwauling. Yes, they had to miss part of their best

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The Drugs Talk With My 11-Year old

Middle school started on Tuesday. Would there be gang bangers? Mean girls? Nurse Ratched-style teachers? One-eyed drug dealers? Should I stop watching CNN? My daughter loves her new school, her teachers and the excitement of the next phase of her

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My Tween Daughters And I Love “Camp Gyno”

If you’re the mother of daughters just ramping up for puberty this Camp Gyno video is a must. (this is NOT a sponsored post). It’s both irreverent and empowering and a perfect launching pad for the awkward talk about puberty.

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The Hubba Hubba Girls: When Girlfriends Save Your Life

When I was nine-years old my mom went through a debilitating divorce from my stepdad and I moved in, permanently it would turn out, with my dad and stepmom. I was a wreck. I threw up and had fevers whenever

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5 Reasons Traveling With Your Kids May Keep Them Off Drugs: Ireland Photos

We travel all over with our kids. That’s where all and any extra cash goes. We’ve taken them to Hawaii, Seattle, Toronto, The Grand Canyon, San Francisco, New York, New Jersey, Las Vegas, Phoenix, El Capitan, Cachuma Lake, Santa Barbara,

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My Kids Aren’t Me

I always think my kids will like the things I like. I was a water baby. I lived in the ocean as a kid visiting my grandma-Santa-Barbara every summer. I loved camping. The mildewy smell of a tent in the

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Girls in their Natural Habitat

Voices: “… and then they’re naked in the jungle and they have to survive.” “When you said naked I thought you meant they didn’t have any supplies.” “No, they don’t have any clothes.” “That’s inappropriate, is it R-rated?” “No, it’s

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My Kid Needs A Therapist

I have a child who is anxious about a big transition coming up. We’re moving to Nebraska where we’ll be installed in the Witness Protection Program as Amish farmers, in order to avoid swimming with the fishes for a mafia

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I Could’ve Been A Milk Carton Kid – Which is Why I Helicopter Parent

My friend Amy told me she lets her 10-year old walk around our Los Angeles neighborhood alone. I tried to keep myself from gasping aloud. I gasped internally, imagining all the kidnappers circling her child in their unmarked, white vans.

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My Daughter’s 11-Year Old Friend Got Her Period

Right after the fifth grade culmination ceremony yesterday, Clare’s good friend Gabriella (a pseudonym) got her first period. Sweet Jesus. It felt to me like the beginning of the end, as this lovely child’s body is now weaponized, a walking,

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I Need Advice From Working Moms

When it comes to my kids’ emotional lives, I’m an extreme empath. I have little tolerance for my childrens’ anxiety, discomfort or sadness. I have to rush in and swab the decks. Hospital corner all the beds.  Polish the brass to

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People Who Do the Dangerous Things That Need to be Done: Tim Hetherington

I’ve just finished watching a must-see Documentary Famed war correspondent and filmmaker, Sebastian Junger (War, The Perfect Storm, Restrepo) has made a documentary about a late-friend and colleague called, Which Way Is The Front Line From Here: the Life and

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Little Girl Movie Star Parties Freaked Me Out, Not Anymore

I’ve been Professor McGonegle. I’ve been Medusa. And now I’ve been Makeup-Artist-to-the-Stars, Gilda. I blame my myriad incarnations on my daughter Bridget, because she loves Theme Birthdays every. Single. Year. When she was seven, Henry and I mounted a massive

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This Post is Funny, But Bullies Aren’t: Take The Pledge to Stop Bullying

My Experience with Bullies – as a Mom and a Kid There’s a red-headed twenty-seven month-old Love Bully named Scarlet in Clare’s Toddler-and-Me class. Just our luck, she has it in for Clare.   My daughter and I try to

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When Your Divorced Parents Love Each Other

My mom and dad haven’t been married since I was two years old. Throughout my childhood, they had very little contact. Once custody was settled they passed me back and forth with a minimum of drama or friction. I was

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Castrating an Unwitting Softball Commissioner

A child, who shall remain nameless — (So if you think you know which child she is, you don’t!) came home tonight from her first softball practice of the season having discovered that none of her former teammates are on

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Five Things I Love Today

I’ve been content for three days in a row.   Well, I had one little shard of jealousy poke me. As I watched Girls last night and Lena Dunham, as Hannah, went on a coke binge so she’d have something

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Talking to Kids About Sex

When I was a kid my parents didn’t talk to me about sex. At eight, when I asked my mom what a condom was, she told me it was a “water balloon you throw off the roof at people.” Her

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